Residents welcome lockdown of Reggae Falls - Say they don’t want COVID-19 in community
If the recent announcement of the Government about the imminent lockdown of Reggae Falls in Hillside, St Thomas, isn't enough, then the ardent, unyielding rejection of visitors by community members and river workers will go a far way in keeping people away from the facility.
Also known as Dam Head, the attraction, which is the result of an abandoned hydro power plant, is among 19 other rivers and 17 beaches ordered closed for two weeks to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The shutdown takes effect on Friday.
"Anything weh the Government have to do fi get rid of this corona yah, we will work with it. Whether me have work or not, because once this is over, work is going come, so I am in full support," said Garnett Betty, who lives in a neighbouring community and works in the vicinity of the river. The recreational spot is swarmed by scores of persons, especially on weekends, most of whom fail to adhere to requirements to wear masks and observe physical distancing guidelines.
Betty, a construction worker, said that his mother and daughter both have underlying ailments and he is worried that the failure of persons to observe the COVID-19 control protocols could lead to a spread of the serious respiratory illness in the community.
"My mother is a diabetic person and my daughter is asthmatic, so me nuh want nothing fi carry guh my yard go give them. If when asthma tek my daughter mi can feel it suh, much less if this yah something yah fi come catch her. We can't manage that so the MP or Prime Minister can put a sign out a roundabout or even Harbour View and tell them that the river is closed. Have police patrolling the river while dem gwaan deal with what a gwaan in the affected communities. We nuh want it fi inoculate the whole of St Thomas," he said. Three communities in the parish were recently placed under lockdown because of an outbreak of coronavirus.
With their own plans to turn back any visitor coming into the area as of Friday, Hillside residents shared their hopes of getting help from security forces.
Playing our part
"We already plan fi stop them and mek them know that the river close down so we nuh want anybody on the river. We are going to be playing our part at this entrance but sometimes dem tek round the other side, suh maybe police is going to have to be on the river to secure that part, but we will deal with dem that come here suh. We nuh want it so we a secure the river," said one female resident.
When THE STAR visited the facility yesterday, Oliver Trevallo and members of his family had just travelled from Clarendon to enjoy the coolness of the beloved, untamed water and the freshness of the upland breeze.
"I heard about the river here and have been wanting to come for a very long time so when I heard about the lockdown we tried to come get a dip before Friday," he said.
Trevallo, who was having a good time dipping and swimming, questioned the Government's decision to add Reggae Falls to the list of rivers to be shut down.
"The place quiet and nice and nuh crowdy, so I don't see the reason why dem wudda put it on the lockdown list. All they need to do is implement something that manage the people so they can come in a timely and orderly manner. It could stay open," he said.