SAN Fernando East MP Brian Manning is seeking to help some of his constituents who are affected by a landslip behind their homes and others who are homeless after a recent fire.
Manning, who is also Minister in the Ministry of Finance, expressed this sentiment on Monday after separate meetings with those affected. He was accompanied by Pleasantville councillor Robert Parris.
He spoke with the media at Salvia Lane, Pleasantville, where some residents are adversely affected by a landslip.
"You can see behind me that work has already begun on preserving this row of houses here."
Manning said some of the houses were on the verge of sliding into a ditch created by the landslip. Five houses were directly threatened.
Manning pointed out that the land was slanting to one side.
"Every time it rained. I had a sleepless night worrying about this community. We were very, very much concerned about it."
Manning said he had raised the issue in Parliament recently and worked assiduously with the Rural Development and Local Government Ministry to get some relief for Salvia Lane residents.
He was pleased that work to repair the landslip has started.
"I am glad that we caught it in time."
The Rural Development and Local Government Ministry, he said, estimated it could cost $2 million to repair the landslip. He added that the ministry has contingencies for these kinds of situations.
Asked about the cause of the landslip, Manning said it could be the topography – the natural and artificial physical features of the area. He added one of those features could be an underground spring.
Parris said the landslip happened last year but had worsened recently. He added that the San Fernando City Corporation is doing what it can to help the residents.
Ricky Parson, an official from contractor Zorinda Maintenance, estimated it could take three months to repair the landslip.
Resident Ian Small was happy that repair work had started.
"I had sleepless nights. I had high blood pressure."
Small has lived at Salvia Lane for the last 12 years. But the house he lives in is owned by his family and has been there for 25 years.
Small said the slippage began last May. He lost a water tank which fell down into the landslip, and the house suffered superficial cracks.
Small said he never heard the land shifting at night but saw the results of it in the day.
Another resident, Carol Collins, was also happy that work on the landslip has started.
She was in tears as she spoke about having to deal with it.
"It has been very uncomfortable. I had very much sleepless nights because of the landslip. It has not been easy."
Collins spoke about cracks inside her house and a shop at the front.
"At the back of the house, the land has been separated from the house."
Collins and her 84-year-old mother live together in the house.
Manning and Parris also visited with Kathyann Telesford and her family whose home at Coconut Boulevard, Pleasantville was destroyed by fire on August 8.
Shortly after the fire, Manning said approaches were made to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and other agencies for assistance. He added that the HDC offers emergency housing in particular situations.
Hesaid he will look at what other assistance could be given to Telesford and her familly.
Parris said they have been given food assistance through Manning's constituency office as well as through the corporation.
"We are going to offer as much assistance as we can."