…no discretion by farmers – road users By Lakhram BhagiratResidents in most of the farming communities in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) are complaining bitterly about the mud-covered roadways caused by farmers. They are contending that mud along the roadways, most times the main access roads, contribute to several accidents.Two days after the workers cleared the roadThe issue of farmers unintentionally dumping large quantities of mud along the roadways have been ongoing for a number of years, with very little being done to address it. According to several residents, rather than using a low-bed to transfer their farming equipment such as tractors, combines and ploughs, the farmers would drive those vehicles onto the roadway from the farmlands, leaving behind large amounts of accumulated mud which contributes to the rapid deterioration of the road surface.This combine being driven along the Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara road caused a traffic pile up, while destroying the asphalt surfaceAs of recent, a number of persons took to social media to highlight the ever-growing problem. On the island of Leguan, where farming is the number one source of income, residents complained that the farmers are not willing to compromise when it comes to moving their vehicles from their homes to the farmlands and back.On the island, rice is one of the dominant crops and that means large pieces of equipment would be required to plough and prepare the land for planting. When it comes to harvesting, they would drive their combines on the main road which aids significantly in the breaking up of the road.Vidya Persaud, a resident, told Guyana Times that when the road is covered with mud, it is difficult to get through and would often result in minor accidents.Leguan NDC workers clearing the mud and stones from the roadway“When them children got to ride and go to school and the place muddy all them school clothes does mud up. Sometimes them does even skate down and fall off them bicycle, especially when the rain fall,” the woman said.Another resident, Dhanwantie (only name given), called for the farmers to be more compromising since the road is not only for their benefit but rather the entire island. She explained that the farmers can utilise other vehicles to transpA trail of mud along the West Coast Demerara Highwayort their farming equipment or even wash off the mud from the equipment before they drive it onto the road.“Them can wash off them tractor and suh before them drive come home. When it got mud all over the road, them can cause accident and so because some people does drive wild and when them skate on that mud is gone them gone,” she lamented.Recently, this publication visited the island and residents had complained about the condition of some sections of the road. The sections of bad road start after Endeavour Village and run to the back of the island, which the villagers are stressing is further deteriorating as a result of the farmers.In the latter part of 2016, the Public Infrastructure Ministry repaired sections of the road within the island but skipped certain parts. It is those parts that the residents are calling for to be repaired. The call is prevalent among taxi drivers and minibus operators, since their vehicles are being damaged, costing thousands of dollars in repairs.Meanwhile, the same situation persists on the West Coast and West Bank of Demerara. However, it is more prevalent in certain parts on the West Coast due to large-scale rice farming. One of the main villages where this occurs is Hague. The residents there complain about the large amounts of mud that lines the roadways within the village as well as on the main road.The farmers would usually drive their mud laden tractors out of the rice fields at the back of Hague and onto the Vreed-en-Hoop/Parika Highway to their respective homes, leaving behind a muddy trail. Vehicles are known to speed along the highway and would often have to swerve from the mud deposits or skid on them. This often costs the drivers thousands of dollars in repairs or sometimes results in major accidents.According to several road users who spoke with this publication, the farmers are not exercising any discretion when they deposit mud on the roadways, much to the danger of commuters.Collectively, residents are calling for the Police to better monitor the usage of the roads and for the farmers to be more cognisant of how they use the roadways.