Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2013 Contents A13
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they have been living through this thing
Asked if he had raised the issue with
the minister, Browne said he had done
so on multiple occasions, in writing,
in person and in Parliament.
"If we needed a wake-up call at all
it should have been August 2012. None
of these agencies have any further
excuse but unfortunately they continue
not to do the basics that we require,"
Citing the construction of a club-
house and jogging track at the mouth
of the Diego Martin River, which runs
through Westmoorings, for the West-
moorings Residents Association, he
said the construction was being done
on the banks of a silted-up river.
Pulling out a list of names, numbers
and complaints, he said every week as
the MP he received requests which
went to the responder agencies.
Councillor for Petit Valley/Cocorite
Wazim Daniel told the T&T Guardian
in a telephone interview the corporation
faced challenges in trying to implement
measures to alleviate flooding.
He said many of the major water-
courses were regularly cleaned by local
government while 60 per cent of the
corporation s restoration projects had
been completed. Limited resources, he
said, were a hindrance to getting work
The corporation has one bobcat to
serve ten districts and has been without
an engineer since last year. He said a
stronger workforce was needed as well,
adding the problem was inherited and
"it is obvious we cannot correct the
problems in two terms."
He noted that one of the major prob-
lem was residents throwing away
garbage in watercourses.
Residents of Diego Martin, Petit Val-
ley and surrounding areas, however,
are fearful of a repeat of the events of
last August 11, when persistent rains
resulted in flooding throughout the
area, leaving many residents stranded
in homes covered in mud and murky
As the anniversary of the event
approaches, heavy rains recently raised
questions about the country s prepared-
ness to deal with or avert another such
Some residents believe the official
approach to preventing a recurrence
has not been satisfactory. The T&T
Guardian visited some of the areas most
affected last year.
The Sutherlands---Bernard and Alli-
son---a couple whose Pinewood Gar-
dens, Petit Valley, home was severely
flooded on August 11, have since put
floodgates on all five doors of their
property. It cost them approximately
Although they were grateful for the
$9,000 they received from the Gov-
ernment and for help in repairing a
broken wall at the back of their prop-
erty, Sutherland said the river, which
flows beneath the highway and crosses
the Morne Coco Road, could pose fur-
ther problems, since the design did not allow for the
free-flow of water.
"I am hoping this is not going to happen again
but I cannot guarantee that," Allison said.
Asked if they had seen work being done by officials,
she said: "All they did, I think, is take a little tractor
and move some of the gravel."
Asked how she felt now when it rained, she said:
"I feel scared because I will not like to go through
this again, to be honest with you.
"And the minute it starts to rain, I get up and stand
on my porch and I am looking to see where it is
starting to flood. I now have a sort of mental thing
A young man from Sinai Street, Diego Martin, said
he now had little faith in officials. He stood at the
gate of a two-storey apartment, the small floodgate
at the entrance of his apartment visible. The river
flows behind his property.
Asked how he felt about what had been done so
far, he said: "Nothing was done. Same thing. Every
government comes and goes. When elections come
around they will come and camp around to make
themselves visible but nothing was done."
He said the river had not been widened and it was
dredged once last year but not since. He said dredging
was not the problem but the volume of water which
accumulated when it rained created flooding woes.
Residents nearby, many of whom were renting,
have since left, he said.
Colin Gill, of Duke of Edinburgh Avenue, Petit
Valley, shared a similar view.
Gill, whose home also flooded last August, believes
little has been done by the authorities to curb hillside
construction which he feels causes much of the prob-
During a visit to his home, he told the T&T
Guardian: "Since the flood, right after, every time it
rains for more than an hour we would get up and
look out the road because all those places being built
on the hills are actually causing it. It is very stress-
The culvert at the end of his street also posed
another challenge, since, he said, it often backed up
because of its size.
Gill said he had put many of his books and electrical
appliances "higher up" and had bought large plastic
bins to store important documents.
Although Gill said he was aware of the Govern-
ment s plans to restrict hillside construction in the
area, he asked: "When is that going to happen? Who
is going to enforce anything?
"But people meanwhile, are still building in the
hills and these things are going to get worse. They
have not done anything. What have they done? They
widened the rivers, so more water will come?"
Not enough done to prevent flooding---MP
• From Page A11
Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne looks at logs that lay in the cradle of a dry river bed at Sierra
Leone Road, Diego Martin, which pointed out areas of his constituency which have not been touched since the
serious floods last August. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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