The fruits of flooding being reaped today were sown by developers who constructed homes and commercial spaces on swamp lands, over two decades ago, Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan lamented yesterday.
Sinanan said in many cases developers using their own money developed lands without approvals and then sought the necessary paper work. He spoke to the media in Diego Martin while touring the Blue Basin River that was being desilted as part of a $32 million project to desilt 298 watercourses nationwide.
Sinanan added developers would backfill the land and build and when heavy rains came the water that would usually breach into swamps was now finding its way into other areas. He said many of the developers, as much as 50 per cent, never got drainage approvals and constructed homes and businesses without authorisation and with little to no penalty.
Sinanan said he is now working with the Environmental Management Authority and the Ministry of Planning to address the issue so the practice will not continue. He said the country is now seeing the effects of bad planning, and hopes an education programme that will be launched soon will address this. The flooding seen in recent years was 75 per cent man-made coupled with water channels that were outdated to meet the increased volume of water, he said.
Sinanan said another issue was a lack of enforcement against errant developers and hoped other agencies will join in clamping down on illegal developers and illegal quarrying which contribute significantly to flooding.
Drainage supervisor II Sebastian Edwards, who toured the area with Sinanan, said desilting will begin in critical areas first with Bagatelle River being one of them. He added desilting is expected to be completed before more rains, with Sinanan adding that by November the project should be completed across the country.