Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 23rd 2017 Contents A10 news
Monday, October 23, 2017
Although deputy CEO of the
Of ice of Disaster Prepar-
edness and Management
(ODPM), Dave Williams sees
no need to resign, the Move-
ment for Social Justice (MSJ)
is calling for his removal
over the paltry response to
At an MSJ media confer-
ence at their San Fernando
political leader David Abdu-
lah said that with 11 out of 14
regional corporations dev-
astated by floods, this was a
Abdulah said the ODPM
had failed the country in a
time of need and described
their late media brie ing as
pathetic and disgraceful.
Noting Williams' labelling
of the ODPM's description
of the widespread flooding
as a "small thing," he said if
action is not taken against
this casual approach to na-
tional issues, the country
would not progress.
He said workers have lost
salaries due to lost hours;
businesses had to close up
for days while farmers were
still counting heavy losses.
"For all of these people,
numbering thousands, this
matter was a very big thing
indeed and the MSJ, there-
fore, calls for the removal of
Mr Dave Williams. We can-
not have somebody who is
supposed to be in charge of
the major agency dealing
with disasters taking such a
casual approach to this sit-
"We have to develop a
culture of responsibility
and accountability by per-
sons in State bodies who
have responsibility for
important areas of activi-
ties in the country. When
these of icials behave in
this manner and seem to be
unconcerned, and take no
and pass it off as a small
thing when it is not, then
they ought not to be in this
position," Abdulah said.
He was also critical of
Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley's reason for not
being in the ield to empa-
thise with flood victims.
During a press conference
at the Prime Minister's of-
ice on Friday, Rowley said
he was absent from relief
efforts due to his parlia-
mentary duty to attend to
a budget session. However,
Abdulah said that the Gov-
ernment has the majority
vote in the Parliament and
could have used it to post-
pone the session, given the
Stakeholders meet on flooding disaster
Technical of icers in the Arima Borough Corpo-
ration have been told that they need to be more
"diligent" and ensure that the practice of people
building houses on road and river reserves is
The issue was put on the table yesterday when
of icials from the Arima Borough Corporation in-
cluding councillors and mayor Lisa Morris-Julien,
councillors from the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional
Corporation, URP co-ordinators, the Disaster
Management Unit, MP for D'Abadie/O'Meara Ancil
Antoine, MP for Arima Anthony Garcia and his per-
sonal assistant, as well as engineers from Ministry
of Works met to discuss the impact of recent bad
weather in the area.
The meeting heard that the Pinto River over-
flowed its banks because "someone" had blocked
the river causing homes in the vicinity to be under
flood waters. That matter is now under investiga-
tion by the Arima Borough Corporation.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian after the meeting
the Arima MP said there were concerns that a num-
ber of people were building on road and river re-
serves and this causes an "escalation" in problems
when it rains.
Of particular concern, he said, was that "peo-
ple are building west of the Mausica River, which
is one of the major rivers in Arima, and therefore
there was a clear need for the technical of icers at
the Arima Borough Corporation to be more vigi-
lant in ensuring that this practice is stamped out."
He said the meeting also pointed out that "coun-
cillors are the irst responders whenever there is
this type of situation and therefore the councillors
would be there providing support and then would
inform the parliamentary representative in an ef-
fort to get additional help for the people."
On Divali day there was "something like a tor-
nado", he said, and the roofs of eight homes were
blown off in the Malabar area from Ackbarali Street
West to Subero Street.
In addition, there were several landslides along
the Blanchisseuse Road, landslides in Brasso Seco,
Paria and other areas in the Arima constituency.
Garcia said the Ministry of Works has been
"working very diligently" in clearing debris from
the roads and many roads were now "passable."
The meeting urged homeowners to take respon-
sibility for their property, lives and well-being and
not leave matters solely to the Government "to
provide relief when these occurrences take place."
Garcia said there was concern that some of the
homes impacted by the weather "were not insured
and it was felt that had these homes been insured,
the insurance would pick up the slack."
Homeowners were also being advised to check
their homes for electrical defects, which could
pose a problem when there are high winds and
Garcia said it was also agreed at the meeting for
an "education campaign to inform people of their
responsibility and advising them what they need to
do." One of the critical things, he said, is that peo-
ple need to "strap their roofs so that in the event of
high breeze the roofs will remain stable."
T&TEC, he said, embarked on a repair pro-
gramme in the borough on Saturday and "six-
ty-eight street lights were repaired."
Garcia said no schools in the area were affected
and there is no reason why schools in Arima
should not open today.
He said the Chief Education Of icer had been li-
aising with school supervisors across the country
and from reports received from Caroni and St Pat-
rick, "all schools in those areas will also be opened
Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said as far as he had
seen no schools in his constituency were affected
by flood waters and all roads were cleared "so it
should be business as usual today."
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