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Sunday 26 January 2020
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Chatham landslide worsens

'12,000 people may be cut off'

Chatham residents block the roadway in protest of a landslip in the area on Monday. -
Chatham residents block the roadway in protest of a landslip in the area on Monday. -

THOUSANDS of residents in the southwestern peninsula are now fearing the worst as a massive landslide along the South Western Main Road in Chatham Village, Point Fortin threatens to cut off their villages from the rest of the country.

The landslide is the largest of 14 along the main road.

Affected residents from Chatham, Cap-de-Ville and other nearby villages joined in a peaceful protest to voice their concerns on Monday morning.

They said the road is a main access route for Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) buses, lorry trucks, school buses, and other traffic.

“This is the main access road for everyone," said Vashtee Ramsaroop, "and it is terrifying watching this road get worse every day, and very soon, if something is not done fast, there will be no road here and all these villages, with over 12,000 people, will be cut off from the rest of the country.”

The villages also include Granville, Icacos, Fullarton, and Cedros.

Last December the road was repaired, said Ramsaroop, but the work may have been shoddy, as the road continued to cave in weeks after.

Ramsaroop said there is now a leaking water line underground which is undermining the road.

“And with the heavy rains, it has made it worse. We all are so frightened, this is a disaster waiting to happen. There are 14 landslides on this main road, and all must be fixed. This one is the worst, a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. We hope that those in authorities hear our plight.”

Accompanying the residents was Cedros councilor Shankar Teelucksingh, who said he was concerned as the residents are living in fear.

Teelucksingh said the land started to cave in 18 months ago and has continued to deteriorate. He said since then a number of reports have been sent to the Works Ministry and relevant authorities.

In mid-December, temporary work was done to restore the road but it continued to collapse.

“ It is also a safety issue and PTSC has now suspended their services, and now the Natural Petroleum company is now using small tankers on the road. Maxi taxis are uncertain they would continue.

"And my phone ringing off the hook with calls from scared residents.”

Teelucksingh said on Monday morning he had been in contact with the ministry.

“Now the situation is like an obstacle race, as you are not sure when this road will cave in.”

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