Much of Cashew Gardens was under flood waters because of constant heavy rainfall, on Wednesday August 18th. Photo courtesy SUSAN CUMMINGS, Cashew Gardens resident.
SHASTRI BOODAN

Poor planning by the HDC is being blamed for today’s flooding in Cashew Gardens, Central Trinidad. 

Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, Arnold Ram MP, said almost 1,000 residents are affected anytime the community floods.

Ram told Guardian Media: “The Minister of Housing, Penelope Beckles, recently visited the community and no one from the MP’s Office was invited. Had we been invited, we would have been able to point out to the Minister the problems in Cashew Gardens.”

“There are abandoned buildings and uncleaned drains. Some of the drains are poorly constructed and very narrow and cannot carry the volume of water. The planners did not take into consideration the natural watercourses. The area was once forested and is now mostly under concrete. This means that a greater volume of water will now rush and overflow the small watercourses near the community, which will not have the capacity and flooding would arise,” the Caroni Central MP explained. 

He added: “A lot of HDC developments were poorly planned and the residents have to suffer.  Look at Greenvale, for example. Cashew Gardens is poised to become another Greenvale. I have written to the Minister and the HDC, but they have not responded.”

Ram said he plans to visit the community and get some feedback.

Meanwhile…  Susan Cummings, 47, a resident of Cashew Gardens Phase 3C North, who moved into the area just over a year ago from Bon Aire Gardens, said once it floods, many residents are trapped.

Cummings said the drains were poorly constructed and floods create a life of misery for residents. She said pedestrians cannot get in and out of their homes, while persons with vehicles have to wait several hours for the waters to subside. 

The Cashew Gardens resident told us people in the area have formed a committee and had written to the HDC. However, she says all their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Cummings said she has turned to various media houses to highlight the plight of the residents.

“This place would get bad like Greenvale just now unless they do something,” she said.