Describing comments by Office of Disaster and Preparedness (ODPM) Deputy Chief Executive (CEO) officer Dave Williams as inappropriate and distasteful, leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah yesterday called for Williams’ removal.
Abdulah said Williams had a duty to perform as Deputy CEO, but failed the country during a time of a natural crisis and for that he must be held accountable. Abdulah was yesterday speaking to reporters during a press conference at MSJ headquarters, St Joseph Village in San Fernando.
Williams has come under heavy criticism following his response to nationwide flooding when he stated that he did not activate the ODPM command centre because the flooding was, “a small thing.”
“If you have 11 out of 14 Regional Corporations that have significant flooding then it is clear we are in a crisis and the ODPM did not respond as if we are in a crisis situation,”Abdulah said.
He added that the ODPM’s response to the flooding was pathetic and Williams’ excuse that there was a breakdown in communication, is unacceptable.
“For those hundreds of families who were flooded out, business people who lost goods, farmers who lost hundreds of crops, consumers who were affected, daily paid workers who were unable to get to work...for all of these people, this matter was a very big thing indeed,” Abdulah said.
The MSJ leader said he is very sympathetic to the flood victims as his home was affected by flooding in 2010. He told reporters the country could not have someone who is supposed to be in charge of a major disaster response agency taking such a casual approach.
To pass off inaction to a disaster, which he thinks is a small thing, shows Williams is not able to do the work of the head of the ODPM, Abdulah said.
Abdulah said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar should also be held accountable for flooding.
“She is shedding tears, but they would not admit that construction of the Debe to Mon Desir Highway has contributed to the flooding or that approvals given to people to build in areas where they ought not to be building, has contributed to flooding,” Abdulah said.