Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 21st 2015 Contents A5
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Villagers of Kernaham and
Cascadoux in Mayaro say they
are yet to get any flood relief
since last November s disaster
even though hundreds of mat-
tresses and supplies were found
stacked under the home of for-
mer MP Winston "Gypsy"
Residents say they have been
experiencing perennial flooding
for years and are in need of help,
proper drainage facilities and
maintenance of the waterways
as water from Rio Claro, Plum
Mitan, Biche and the Nariva
Swamp passes through their
community before reaching the
Last November heavy rains
and flood waters ravaged the
coastal communities, killing
livestocks and causing millions
of dollars in damage to agricul-
ture and property, including the
collapse of a large section of the
Manzanilla/Mayaro Main Road.
Eleven months later, affected
residents said they were yet to
meet with any government offi-
cials over damage caused by the
floods. Each person interviewed
spoke of neglect by past gov-
ernments, saying that it was
only at election time they got
promises. Some of them also
had some heavy criticism for
In Cascadoux Trace, Roland
Taylor recalled that when he
stepped into the lower tier of
his home, the water was so high
that it filled his garden boots.
Without any assistance from
the State agencies, he said he
had to use a pump to empty the
water from his home.
His wife, Rita Charles, said
many of their neighbours suf-
fered losses in the flood and
they too got no help. She
recalled: "It had so much water
under my house and nobody
came to check us and even give
us a bottle of water. We have to
live just how we are now. You
see that Gypsy he did nothing
Farmer John Charles showed
the T&T Guardian team where
he was backfilling under his
house in preparation for more
floods. He said when the waters
came last November, he lost two
acres of crops and got no com-
pensation from the Government
despite several attempts.
Further inside the trace, gar-
dener Albon Charles, who lost
ducklings and eggs, said no
mattresses, water or food ham-
pers were ever offered to him.
For the people of Kernaham,
who suffered heavier flooding,
help came from a nearby
mosque where members pro-
vided food, water and mattress-
es.Despite Sonnylal Jonas, 71 and
his wife, Sukdaye Budhanie, 68,
being recipient of those aids,
including a stove from the Mus-
lim community, their wooden
house and furniture continue to
rot after being swollen in the
floods. Since then, she said the
Office of Disaster Preparedness
and Management (ODPM) has
only given them a food hamper.
Living in poverty, across the
road from their home is a
dammed water course which
floods each time there is heavy
After reading about the mat-
tresses and flood relief supplies
found at Peters home, she said:
"That was very wrong because
if you had passed through Cas-
cadoux where my daughter
lived, her whole house was
"If Mr Gypsy really did that,
it was totally wrong. Someone
needs to help us, clean out our
drains. If the floods come now
I don t know what we will do.
No government has done any-
thing for us."
Almost every house in those
communities have water pumps
and in giving his take on the
disaster, Azzard Hosein, who
lives in the link road between
both villages,said floods were
expected because they built a
community in the Nariva
He said most homes did not
get damaged but acres of pro-
duce were lost. However, he said
farmers were compensated by
the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to newspaper
reports, wheelbarrows, mops,
buckets and other cleaning items
were distributed to flood victims
after the disaster.
Some of the aids were sup-
plied by the ODPM, the
Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Cor-
poration, T&T Red Cross Soci-
ety and food from Prestige
Holdings. Several other Non
Governmental Agencies also
I may have
Former Mayaro MP Winston "Gypsy"
Peters says it is possible that he may have
missed out a few flood victims when he was
distributing relief items at his constituency
His comments came a day after police raid-
ed his home at Mayaro and found hundreds
of mattress, cases of water, blankets and other
supplies meant to assist flood victims.
Peters son was also arrested and charged
after a quantity of marijuana was found at
Saying he had no reason to feel disheartened
by the outpouring of condemnation from his
former constituents, Peters said when the
November floods hit, he did his best to help
people from Mafeking, Kernaham, Cedar
Grove and Crysosthom.
During his relief drive, Peters said he met
"schemers" as well as genuine flood victims.
"It is not heart-rendering for me to hear
what people saying because I gave out food
hampers, mattresses and other aid all over
the place. There are people in the country
who will get and say they did not get. I cannot
account for everyone," Peters said.
Saying not all victims received relief, Peters
added: "Nobody could go to all the places.
We may have missed out a few flood victims
but we did as much as we could."
Peters said the relief items under his home
was donated by corporate sponsors, many of
whom did not want to be named.
He said even before he was an MP, he col-
lected items for the poor. He said if anyone
in his constituency had a genuine need, he
would provide assistance.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Mayaro/Rio
Claro Regional Corporation, Hazaree
Ramdeen, said he got a pain in his heart when
he read news that hundreds of mattresses
and flood relief items were found lodged under
"Gypsy was looking after the distribution
of hampers and mattress. I know he distrib-
uted in Mafeking and Kernaham. I wasn t
with him all the time when he was distributing
but I know he was distributing in some flood
"He had his own constituency officers to
help him. I get a pain in my heart when I
read that story," Ramdeen said.
He said most of the mattresses and donated
supplies were kept at Sumairsingh Complex
in Kildeer. "I know that the items were
removed but I did not know they were still
under Gypsy s house. I thought everything
was already distributed," Ramdeen added.
tell of neglect
'We are yet to receive any Govt help'
Mayaro resident Sonnylal Jonas shows his wardrobe that was
damaged during the flood at his home in Kernaham last November.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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