Rapid land movement at Cipero Road, Borde Narve Village in Princes Town, has forced a 78-year-old pensioner to move out of his home.
On Friday, two days after he saw cracks widening in the house and landslips around the property, Lalchan Ramsawak fearing for his life, went to stay with relatives in Freeport.
His two-bedroom house is lower than the road and he said it is being undermined. Owing to the waterlogged yard and widening landslip, he cannot move his B13 car from the garage. It is on the brink of tumbling if the rain continues to fall consistently.
"On Wednesday, the gallery was separated by a few inches. Also, at the back, my face basin became separated from the house.
"I stayed on the porch Wednesday night and last night. I could not sleep in that house," Ramsawak told Newsday
He believes the heavy rain may have caused the rapid land movement over the past few days. Owing to the volume of water, he believes underground water lines may have ruptured..
When Newsday visited, water was seen gushing from the front of the yard.
Ramsawak had a stroke about 12 years ago. He does not have any children, and his wife died about ten years ago.
He was employed with the now-defunct Caroni (1975) Ltd as a tasker driver. As part of their Voluntary Separation of Employment Package, former Caroni workers were entitled to residential lots and agricultural plots. He said he had been waiting for the past 17 years to get the land.
He saw a glimmer of home in 2015 when Caroni officials allocated him a residential lot ticket (Lot 0532 at Petit Morne).
"No officials have ever carried me to the area to show me where this lot is. Over the years, I have visited all the agencies responsible for giving the lands," Ramsawak said. "I keep checking and checking for updates without luck. The last thing they said was the issue was a court matter. These people keep dancing me (meaning giving him the runaround)."
His neighbour Debbie Mahabir was worried that her home might also start to crumble because of the land movements.
Mahabir, 54, a Cepep worker, lives with two children – Ricardo, 18, and Lindcia, 16.
"Yesterday (Thursday), several trees were separated from the land with the volume of water flowing at the back. Maybe poor drainage contributed to this too," Mahabir said.
"We heard movements from his (Ramsawak’s) house. My son went across and stayed with him for about an hour. He was frightened about what was happening."
She said if her house is destroyed, she does not have money to build a new one.
"I think we might be next, based on how fast it is damaging his house.
"If anyone can do something to help prevent further damage, everyone would be grateful," Mahabir said.
Councillor for Corinth/Cedar Hill, Princes Town Shawn Premchand told Newsday he met with Ramsawak and a relative on Friday.
The Cipero Road, Premchand said, falls under the purview of the Ministry of Works and Transport. He said he contacted engineers at the ministry who promised to make a site visit on Monday.
He also contacted the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to investigate whether the water entering Ramsawak’s property came from a broken main. WASA officials, he said, were expected to visit either Friday afternoon or Monday morning.
"I also informed the disaster management unit of the Princes Town Regional Corporation. They were supposed to do a site visit this afternoon. I also contacted the Commissioner of State lands pertaining to the Caroni lands," Premchand said. "I forwarded the relevant information to officials, and they are investigating it. If he gets the land, as an option, he can relocate."