THE EDITOR: We are reaping the whirlwind of lawlessness and refusal/failure of the relevant authorities to enforce laws against illegal activity in TT.
How many of the stories told by citizens impacted by flooding and landslides over the past few weeks relate to some one body putting up an impediment (wall or building) in a watercourse or otherwise causing an alteration to the natural flow of a river channel, or bulldozing all or part of a hill?
And now the former MP for the San Juan area speaks of pump parts and diesel being stolen from pumps needed to pump out stormwater from the land in his constituency.
Hopefully the horror experienced by some over the past few days will encourage others to “see something, say something” and not wait until there is a falling out with the perpetrator, or your house is under water, or the road is impassable, and will spur the relevant authorities to take enforcement action wherever it is required.
Back in the 1970s, the area covered by the various Bamboo Villages was (and still is) owned by the State and was under cultivation for rice, vegetables and food crops, and described as the “food basket” of the region. The soils were determined to be of restricted or impeded internal drainage.
These areas were designated in the National Physical Development Plan for agriculture. This plan was approved by the Parliament in May 1984 and is the one and only statutory guide to land use planning policy in this part of the country.
Fast forward to the invasion of the land (I am not able to determine the date of this occurrence) by some fine upstanding citizens, otherwise known as squatters, and the eventual capitulating by the then government that allowed the continued occupation of these lands by the invaders. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.
Moral of my story – we need to have the guts (or whatever is required) to face head on the lawlessness that is endemic in our society, be it murder, squatting, alteration of watercourses by whatever means, bulldozing a hillside as, if we do not, we will be going through the same rigmarole every year.
TT Society of Planners