Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2013 Contents The residents suggested that the vetevier
plant, with roots that can spread 14 feet
into the ground, can be used to prevent
flooding, soil erosion, strengthen river banks
and stabilise the hill slopes.
They said that during the Government’s
Dengue Eradication Programme, when cit-
izens were urged to put out their old appli-
ances, fridges, stoves, mattressess and tires
for pick up, can also be applied to stem
They recommended increased garbage
collection in the region and a clean up cam-
paign at least once a year.
Govt agencies, engineering experts re-
When Tewarie was contacted for a com-
ment, his ministry issued a reply that the
Sunday Guardian’s query be directed to the
The ministry said, “Although the Town
and Country Planning Division (TCPD) is
responsible for planned development of
land, matters involving unplanned devel-
opments on state lands are referred to the
respective owner, which will in some cases
be the HDC or the Land Settlement Agency.
“Matters involving the unplanned set-
tlement of private lands are taken up by the
owner of the lands, and TCPD can take
action under the Town and Country Plan-
ning Act once the matter has been referred
by the private owner.”
The LSA CEO Hazar Hosein said penalties
could be imposed by the commissioner of
state lands who had the power to take people
Hosein said the Government was working
on an amended policy to the State Lands
Act to deal with and impose more penalties
on people who were squatting and breaking
the law. He said he was hoping that the
new penalties to make squatting a criminal
offence will be in place within the next few
Roger Ganesh, commenting as a private
citizen and engineer and not as director of
the Highways Division at the Ministry of
Works and Infrastructure, said the drainage
infrastructure had not kept pace or improved
with the rate of development in Diego Mar-
Ganesh said run-off water should be con-
trolled and contained in the region and
released after high intensive rainfall into
catchment systems which wasn’t being
He said the present infrastructure such
as river courses and drains also had to be
maintained and cleaned regularly because
of the very indiscriminate practices of cit-
izens dumping their garbage into the rivers,
canals and roads.
Ganesh said a zero tolerance policy must
be adopted and enforced from traffic offend-
ers to litter bugs.
He also said Sammy’s proposed soil nailing
can’t be done on all soil types and must be
tested before implementation.
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He said in the aftermath of the raging floodwaters
that ravaged the Diego Martin area on September 13,
three of Venezuela’s top engineering experts have
been invited to draft soil nailing technology by October.
This technology is expected to mitigate soil erosion
and stabilise the slopes of the surrounding hills in
order to help prevent further destruction. The tech-
nology also entails driving large steel rods into the
hills, laying down a BRC-type mesh with pipes run-
ning at the back and then layering it with concrete
following the contours of the hills to cap them off.
Sammy said an early warning detection and alarm
system will also be used to augment the soil nailing
technology’s effectiveness in reducing the risk of
landslides and flooding.
He said the corporation was taking a holistic
approach to prevent flooding, and its master drainage
plan will include components such as a 24-hour
Municipal Police Service, litter wardens and a 24-
hour disaster management service.
Sammy said the corporation was responsible for
cleaning the 521 secondary drains in the area, however,
the major waterways fell outside his purview.
Residents offer solutions
Speaking on condition of anonymity, flood affected
residents from Blue Range, St Lucien Road, Sinanan
Gardens, Temple Street, Water Wheel area, Bagatelle,
Sierra Leone Road, Dorrington Gardens, Apple Blos-
som, Crystal Stream and Chuma Monka said while
Sammy’s initiatives to alleviate flooding were well-
intentioned, he was treating the symptoms and not
the cause, the squatters.
A St Lucien Road resident said once the squatters
were removed from the hills, 80 per cent of the flood-
ing in Diego Martin will be solved.
A 30-year-old resident from Water Wheel said
there was a correlation between squatters and flooding
in Diego Martin, as the incidents began with their
influx into the hills.
A Bagatelle resident said, “You can’t have people
cutting the hills just like that, it’s causing a lot of
our problems. “No structure or building can be built
without the approval of Town and Country Planning
and the relevant regional corporation.
“Once you notice cutting of the hills or new con-
struction, building inspectors should go out there
and check their records to see if they have any appli-
cations and if not, stop the project.”
A Blue Range resident said there were no access
roads leading to the dams in the area so that they
can be cleaned, while some of the squatters had
paved roads and lighting leading up the mountainsides.
A Chuma Monka resident said there seemed to be
no co-ordination between government agencies
regarding cleaning drains; the St Lucien Road drains
are handled by the Ministry of Works and Infra-
structure’s Highways Division, while the main drains
are done by the ministry’s Drainage Division.
A Crystal Stream resident said the squatters could
be removed since they weren't occupying state land
prior to 1998, according to the provisions for reg-
ularisation of squatters by the Land Settlement Agency
Squatters play cat and mouse
Diego residents call for the authorities to act as...
A backhoe clears a portion of land in Cadet Hill, Diego Martin, north of Blue Range.
A Diego Martin flood victim resident throws out destroyed household items.
A section of Cadet Hill, Diego Martin where loose dirt remains after clearing of land in the area.
From Page A8
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