Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2013 Contents A7
Saturday, May 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
25 MUCURAPO ROAD, ST JAMES. TEL: 622-1996
110 HIGH STREET, SAN FERNANDO. TEL: 653-3202
COR. FREDERICK & HART STREETS, P.O.S. TEL: 627-4278
Rodriguez now faces life on the
Rodriguez, who is disabled, was
one of many squatters at Old Train-
line, King s Wharf, San Fernando,
who was served with an eviction
notice to vacate her shack yester-
The notices were served after a
directive was given by the San Fer-
nando City Corporation to remove
the squatters to facilitate the first
phase of the multi-million-dollar
San Fernando Waterfront Beauti-
fication Project, which would
include a boardwalk, a restaurant
and other recreational fixtures.
Residents yesterday vented their
anger and burned tyres in protest
as city officials, accompanied by
police, began sticking notices on
their wooden shacks.
It is not the first time squatters
have had to move from the slum,
as former mayor Gerard Ferreira
relocated some during his tenure.
But some remained and new squat-
ters have since taken up residence.
Defiantly tearing down the
notices, some squatters went to
City Hall in protest and sent a mes-
sage to San Fernando mayor Dr
Navi Muradali that they were not
The notices said the shacks con-
travened Section 168 (a) of the
Municipal Corporations Act of
1990, which implies that they con-
structed homes on state lands with-
out approval from the council.
Squatters were given up to May
29 to give sufficient reason why
their shacks were built or they
would be demolished at their
Rodriguez, who hasn t seen out-
side her plywood shack for the past
five years, lay on a small, dirty mat-
tress while officials stuck the notice
on her door.
She has to rely on a neighbour
to provide food and water, which
is stored in styrofoam containers
and two-litre plastic bottles.
"I am not feeling good at all
because I have nowhere else to go,"
"A fella comes to bring tea and
food for me, but I have not been
able to walk for the last five years.
"I have nowhere to go, no family
or anything. I m feeling bad now
because I have to study where I can
go and I can t even move to go look
Glenn Pierre said his mother, 83-
year-old Marjorie Pierre, was also
disabled and had been served with
Disabled woman, 76, faces life on the street as...
King's Wharf squatters
get eviction notices
The prevailing belief among
citizens that "God is a Trini" is
posing some challenges to the
Office of Disaster Preparedness
Management (ODPM) in its dis-
aster preparedness education
This was disclosed yesterday
by Vijai Mahabir, ODPM opera-
tions manager, at the commission
of enquiry into the July 1990
attempted overthrow of the Gov-
ernment by Jamaat al Muslimeen
The youthful Mahabir was
being questioned at the time by
commission deputy chairman Sir
Richard Cheltenham, who pointed
out that in his country of Bar-
bados, the younger population,
which had never experienced a
major natural disaster did not
take hurricane warnings serious-
"Yes, that is a great problem
(here), the attitude that God is a
Trini. We have some challenges
getting the message across to the
population," Mahabir said.
He said the ODPM had to
counter this lethargic response
by persisting with education.
"We have to start with the
kids...It s important to have a dis-
aster response programme in the
school curriculum," he said.
Tobago, on the other hand, is
much more prepared than
Trinidad for a disaster because
Tobagonians do not believe that
God is a Tobagonian, commis-
sioner Eastlyn McKenzie said.
"We tell the story of the expe-
rience of the 1963 Hurricane Flora
to children and try to let the pop-
ulation know God is not a Tobag-
onian," she said.
McKenzie said Tobago news-
papers carry a list of shelters
when there s a hurricane warning
and noted every school or build-
ing that is to be used as a shelter
has a sign.
The shelters have also been
tried out to see if there are enough
cots and water, she said.
Mahabir said there is a national
disaster plan in T&T but there is
a critical need to test it.
"There are well-orchestrated
plans but there is a need to test
them with simulation
exercises...This must be done on
a regular basis," he said.
Mahabir said the ODPM does
regular briefings with state agen-
cies like the Telecommunications
Services of T&T, the Water and
Sewerage Authority and the T&T
He said the regional corpora-
tions have done tsunami pre-
paredness exercises with some
schools, where students were
actually picked up and transport-
ed elsewhere, and the exercise
was successful in that gaps were
He said the ODPM is involved
in a plan to install sirens to warn
of a tsunami or other disaster but
this may not come into effect
until by the end of the year.
Emergency support services are
in place in the regiment and the
Air Guard has even done some
simulation exercises, he said, but
there is an urgent need to test
the Port-of-Spain egress plan.
"We do have a Port-of-Spain
egress plan to deal with traffic,
but we need to test it," Mahabir
He said the Public Transport
Service Corporation s disaster
preparedness plan includes having
nine emergency buses for Port-
of-Spain and seven for San Fer-
The 15th session of the enquiry
ended yesterday with no fixed
date for the next and final ses-
The commission has to get
feedback from witnesses before
a date can be set.
ODPM manager at coup enquiry:
'God is a Trini' belief posing problems
In an interview yesterday, San
Fernando mayor Dr Navi Muradali
said: "The San Fernando City Council
took a decision two weeks ago to
serve notices and subsequently
demolish the illegal and unsightly
shacks along Kings Wharf.
"The decision was further
compounded by the information
that these shacks were also being
used as drug dens to house drugs
"The council unanimously advised
the Building Department to serve
notices along the line and King's
Wharf and all other illegal
structures along the waterfront."
He said information was gathered
from a Sunday Guardian report
from September 2011, which
headline read "King's Wharf
The story reported that the
Defence Force and Special Anti-
Crime Unit swooped down on King's
Wharf and found drugs and
firearms there during the state of
A police officer serves an eviction notice to Lawrence Augustus, a resident
of King's Wharf, San Fernando, yesterday.
PHOTOS: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Antonio Anthony, a resident of King's Wharf, San Fernando, reacts after
being served with an eviction notice yesterday.
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