Residents of Bamboo Settlement 1, 2 and 3 held a press conference on Tuesday at the Bamboo No 3 Community Centre to stress that they want immediate action to alleviate their flooding problems.
Councillor Seema Ramsaran-Augustine said: “What we need urgently is our drains to be cleaned.
"Also, the bobcart that the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation sent to clear the slush cannot handle the work without an excavator. So any good Samaritan, organisation, NGO or contractor, please help us get one, because funding is not available.”
Resident Ganesh Khoon Khoon praised the first gathering of “The Bamboos” 1, 2 and 3, because he said they want to send a message to the public – “We didn’t choose to live in ponds” – and want the authorities to fix their problems.
Tyran Pariag spoke on issues surrounding the recent flooding caused by the passage of Hurricane Karen, and said they have been experiencing flooding as never before, because the drains have not been cleaned or their water pumps serviced.
He pleaded with the authorities: “Hear our cries! There has been a greater influx of water to the Bamboo community, far greater that we have experienced in years, hence the flooding.”
Khoon Khoon added: “From 2016 to the present we are seeing more flooding than we ever saw before. Between 1980 and 2016 we only had one flood.
"We need proper maintenance and servicing of the water pumps. We are not accustomed to this.”
Rajnauth Lall said the riverbanks are very low and need to be raised. He added that no work had been done to the riverbanks in years and the 20-year-old pumps only pump 20 per cent of what they should. Villagers also want experienced pump operators, and proper supervision of diesel. He said: “We have to purchase our own because diesel is not reaching Bamboo.”
Lall also said there were no floodgates to control the flooding.
Revan Teelucksingh told fellow residents what they are looking to do is to prevent the flooding situation rather than to have ongoing clean-up operations.
He said Bamboo residents had been trying to clean the drains on their own for the past three days but didn't have access to the right equipment.
“They have not completed one per cent of the work yet, and that is 20 men working for three days.”
He added that Sewa TT (a not-for-profit service organisation building a national network of volunteers) and the Kalpoo brothers have a boat on a truck with a driver on standby every time they get a yellow alert and that they can reach anywhere in Kelly and Bamboo if there is an emergency for rescue, but the residents really want to get rid of the problem altogether.
MP for the area Prakash Ramadhar shared the pleas of the residents and told them after their last meeting, on Sunday, a team was put together to identify problems and make
proposals he could take to the relevant authorities.
He said Local Government Minister Kasim Hosein had responded and promised that cleaning the secondary drains in Bamboo 3 was to begin yesterday. However, he was yet to get a response from Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan on where work must begin to strengthen the embankment of the St Joseph river, as there are too many breaches causing the flooding.
Contacted yesterday, Ramadhar confirmed that crucial work on the secondary drains in Bamboo 3 did began yesterday and said he was only awaiting word from Sinanan on when his ministry would start work.