Linden to Lethem trail: Commuters continue to grapple with deplorable roads

Another section of the trail

…loggers contribute to present situation – Regional VC

Traversing the Linden to Lethem trail is proving to be too time-consuming and even dangerous given the current rainy season coupled with the damages being done by loggers whose heavy-laden trucks destroy the pathways.

This is according to Regional Vice Chairman (VC) of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), Carl Singh, who on Sunday told Guyana Times that previously, on a regular day, a trip from Lethem to Linden would average between 12 and 15 hours.

But, at present, given the deplorable state of this route, it takes almost twice as long to travel to and from those locations.

The condition of the Linden to Lethem road

“Now it is taking 20 to 24 or 25 hours. I drove out of town a few days ago, a land cruiser took 20 to 22 hours. I even had to pull about four minibuses that had trouble on the road with my vehicle,” he stated.

According to the Regional VC, the Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC) is conducting some work on the trail but is not enough.

Singh further stated that in light of the numerous complaints by persons travelling that route along with complaints by the bus operators, his Regional Office had both spoken and written to the Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, some six weeks ago about the pressing issue but there has been no feedback.

Singh pointed out that Minister Trotman has responsibility for the forestry sector and that is why the Regional Office of Region Nine sought his assistance.

Just two months ago, several minibus operators plying the Lethem and Mahdia routes complained bitterly to this publication about the deteriorating conditions of the trail which they are forced to use to transport passengers and goods as a means of earning their daily bread.

The bus operators described the trail as a “death trap” and bashed the Public Infrastructure Ministry for paying zero interest in conducting long-term repairs to that trail which is the only access to those areas.

Another section of the trail

The trail has been in a deteriorated state for years and worsens during the rainy seasons after which minor substandard repairs are done on certain patches and the problem continues to recur.

A route 72 bus driver, Keith Daniels, had stated that he was forced to park his minibus due to the condition of the road since the risk of making a trip is way more than its gains.

Meanwhile, another driver, Kendall Richardson, who also reached out to this newspaper, called for the Government to put measures in place for urgent and long-term repairs and maintenance of the road.

At that time, he had said that the drivers are suffering since they are forced to use the road in the present state as best as they can in getting passengers into and out of Mahdia just for an income to take care of their needs. He stated that at times, the buses get stuck and are left to wait for several hours until a truck or pick-up passes for them to seek assistance in getting their bus pulled from the mud.

This, he said, is unacceptable and called on Government through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to come up with a plan to commence repairs on the road soon.

Mayor of Mahdia, David Adams in an invited comment said that the trail is in its usual state, however, vehicles are still able to traverse.

He explained that during the rainy season, some attention needs to be paid to the trail on a particular stretch between Mahdia and Mabura, which is in dire need of repair.

He noted, however, that there are no plans in place for such rehabilitation works by the Council.

“Getting in is very difficult and some works have to be done in the short term to offer relief to those traversing,” he said.