Residents of La Paille Village in Caroni are again venting their frustration at the lack of response from the authorities concerning what they describe as a flooding disaster waiting to happen.
The frustrated residents have staged several placard protests on the bank of the river to draw attention to their predicament but to no avail. They are now contemplating their next plan of action.
And their Member of Parliament, Dinesh Rambally MP, is urging the relevant authorities to take advantage of the current dry season to rectify the issues the residents have lobbied about over the years.
The Chaguanas West MP notes that at present, the lives and property of more than 1,000 people are under serious threat with the next heavy shower of rain, and the unpredictability of the weather is causing much anxiety.
A release from the MP’s Office reports that a group of concerned residents met recently with MP Rambally to discuss their next move, as repeated calls to get the Ministry of Works and Transport to address their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. He also updated the villagers on his efforts to have the problem rectified.
According to the Chaguanas West MP, in terms of the scope of works involved, engineers in the Works and Transport Ministry have indicated that straightening of the river is necessary to divert the flow of water away from the homes in direct threat of being flooded out.
“The current dry season is the perfect time for any work to be undertaken to straighten a bend in the river to eliminate the threat of a devastating flood,” MP Rambally said, agreeing with the residents that the time is now for something to be done.
MP Rambally, an attorney-at-law, is well-acquainted with the issue, having championed the cause for remedial actions over many years.
He recalled having responded to requests from villagers in the midst of one of their most serious episodes when the Caroni River burst its banks in the middle of the night.
MP Rambally said that he has raised the issue in Parliament; written letters to the relevant agencies; and even spoken personally with Works Minister Rohan Sinanan who visited the site and promised to intervene while identifying that funding was a major challenge.
The Chaguanas West MP also recounted that his Parliamentary colleague, Dr Roodal Moonilal, the Member of Parliament for Oropouche East, also has lobbied on behalf of the villagers, and even had highlighted their plight to Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds MP, who also was approached for assistance.