Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 21st 2014 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
The Mayaro-Manzanilla flood damage
is far more extensive than initially thought,
Works and Transport Minister Suruj Ram-
bachan admitted yesterday.
As such, Government will be transporting
pumps into the area to assist in siphoning
out flood waters out of the Nariva Swamp
area, which were still relatively high up to
yesterday, and the Defence Force s Engi-
neering Battalion will also provide assistance
in the exercise from today.
At yesterday s Government press confer-
ence at the Office of the Prime Minister, St
Clair, Rambachan said for the first time
ministry officials were able yesterday to tra-
verse the areas and the damage was much
more extensive than believed from prelim-
In one area, he said, approximately half
a kilometre of road was completely
destroyed, in another 450 metres were
destroyed and in one area 950 metres were
He added: "We ll have to completely
reconstruct about four kilometres of the
"The difficulty we are facing is the amount
of water still flowing from the Nariva Swamp
onto the road and getting into the seaside.
It s a constant flow."
Today, officials would try to enter the
swamp to see if the river had breached any
areas and whether the water now flowing
was really from the river that had somehow
changed its course, he said.
Rambachan said the Director of Highways
believed the constant flow of water they
have seen all week could not only be coming
from just the swamp.
"We are also teaming up with the engi-
neering corps of the army to use their equip-
ment and personnel to help do a more
detailed survey, particularly in the swamp
areas," he said.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, November 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Local Content Chamber president Lennox Sir-
juesingh has taken issue with the announcement
that a Danish firm is being considered to address
the collapse of the Manzanilla/Mayaro road.
Works and Infrastructure Minister Dr Surujrat-
tan Rambachan and Director of Highways Roger
Ganesh, according to media reports, are hoping to
get the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) to address
and find a permanent solution to the collapse of
the road, the main artery between Sangre Grande
On Sunday, a large portion of the road collapsed
after floodwaters and high tides undermined the
But yesterday, Sirjuesingh expressed outrage that
locals were not being given a chance.
"I am shocked to hear that. There is nothing
from Golconda to Point Fortin that we cannot do,
yet it has been given to a foreign contractor. In this
case I am hearing that we are not even being given
an opportunity to bid," he said.
DHI, according to media reports, was instrumental
in solving various problems in New Orleans when
the US port city was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina
in 2005. For this reason, the ministry is considering
the firm to address the Manzanilla road collapse.
"Who determines that this Danish or foreign
firm is capable and we are not? And in such a short
space of time?" Sirjuesingh asked.
"You cannot deny local content, you are doing
that at your own peril. The world is not sitting
down and taking this kind of biased award of con-
"Local content is a right of the people and it
is the right for our contractors to be given an equal
Board of Engineering T&T member and local
engineer Mark Francois shared Sirjuesingh s con-
"There is absolutely no need to bring in expertise
from outside the region to deal with this and we
have people here who are competent to deal with
it," Francois said.
Francois said when DHI worked in New Orleans
a vast majority of the work was done by the US
army s corps of engineers.
He said in the Manzanilla project local engineers
should take the lead role and foreigners should be
brought in only to fill any gaps in the local expertise.
We'll have to
Locals vex over
Suruj on rehab of 'Manzan' road:
The ministry had moved equipment into
the area, including a big pump and was
seeking three more immediately to pump
water over the road and into the sea, he
said. There were two excavators on site to
help control the water coming from the
swamp, he added.
Rambachan said parts of the road could
still be protected.
The ministry s first objective was to con-
nect Manzanilla and Mayaro and examine
building a roadway to attach to the existing
road that survived on the edge of the
swamp, he added.
But there would be some displacement
of the energy sector as its heavy equipment
could not pass along the roadway, he noted.
He said even when the new roadway
was started, they may not be able to use
it unless the ministry completed the recon-
struction of the existing road.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,
Rambachan said, had mandated that the
needs of all affected should be taken care
of.Mayaro MP Winston Peters left the Cab-
inet meeting yesterday to go to the area
to further assess people s needs and ensure
agencies deal with it.
Rambachan said the Government was
engaged in several coastal protection pro-
grammes, tendered this year up to $351
Two are in Manzanilla and one at the
Shore of Peace on the southwest coast. He
said T&T was losing between two and four
metres of land annually and in Cedros up
to four metres.
"We ll have to intensify efforts in this
area," Rambachan said.
Equipment moved in
for 20TH NOVEMBER, 2014
The portion of the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road which was washed away by flood waters over
the weekend. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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