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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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Woodland protesters defy CoP, light fires for water

PROTESTERS at Pluck Road, Woodland, south Trinidad, defied the warning of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and blocked the road to mount a fiery demonstration for water.

Residents said they had had no pipeborne water for the past six weeks, and that forced them to break the law on Friday morning by doing just what the CoP warned against: blocking roads and setting fire to debris to bring attention to their issues.

Demonstrators told Newsday they had already spoken to their lawyers in case they were arrested. However, police arrived long after the short demonstration ended and met a cleared road, with only black marks across the middle showing a fire had been lit there earlier.

Shortly before 7 am on Friday, residents of Ramcharan and Tennant Streets, holding placards indicating their many grouses, lit tyres across Pluck Road, preventing hundreds of drivers, workers and schoolchildren from reaching their destinations.

Led by Siparia Regional Corporation alderman Denish Sankersingh and councillor for the area Doodnath Mayrhoo, they told of their suffering, with no water to cook, wash, bathe or even flush their toilets. Against a background of chants of “We want water” and “We want better roads,” Mayrhoo said the area is also plagued by bad roads, flooding and six landslipsthat are threatening to isolate the community.

“Yesterday made it three and a half years since the People’s National Movement (PNM) has been in government, and not one of those landslips have been touched for repairs. We are in a process where we can be cut off at any time.’’

One of the landslips on the San Francique Road is threatening the home of resident Ronnie Harryram, while another at Murray Trace has cut off Siparia from the rest of the area.

Mayrhoo added,“And nothing is being done. The PNM and Rohan Sinanan (Minister of Works) is behaving as if the treasury of this country belongs to the PNM and PNM constituencies. The treasury belongs to all the people of TT and we need something done in Pluck Road.” Mayrhoo produced a letter he wrote to Sinanan on April 3, 2018, on behalf of the Pluck Road Action Group, for a meeting about the landslips and compensation for home owners who lost all their possessions in two floods.

“We never got a response,” he said, as Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte and Sinanan could not be reached. “They do not answer their phones.”

Mayrhoo said water came to the area once a week or sometimes once a fortnight, but the pressure was so low it could not reach the 45 households in the higher areas. He said the corporation had helped by delivering a truckborne supply.

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