End hamper-politics for flood victims

End hamper-politics for flood victims
Photo : Paras Ramoutar

Passing out hampers to the thousands of victims of floods over the years does not solve the problem of flooding. Whether it is in Caparo, Penal, Debe, St.Helena, Madras, Mayaro or Greenvale. where ever, after the water has subsided, when the next rainfall comes down, it would be the same situation.

Government must take a more serious, in depth and humanitarian composite photo of what has been the cause of floods, and initiate steps to curb them once and for all. Floods have now become part of our national culture and past time, with no end in sight.

At election time, the issue of floods, and what would be done to solve it in these communities always adorn the manifestoes of the political parties, but when either of them hits the corridors of power, floods no longer exist, only for it to rear its perennial challenges to the populace, and truck loads of hampers are on the way to assist the victims.

Governance must not be solving floods with hampers. We must do away with the concept of hampers to wish away floods. When one part of the country is hit by floods, the whole nation suffers. We hear loans are being sourced to construct several mighty projects that would probably bring no positive results, or for that matter they would be incomplete as evidenced by a string of projects taken over the years, and there is no delivery because one cannot find the midwife.

Take for example the flooding in Caparo, which has been a perennial challenge for over 50 years, yet there is no solution. The Caparo River, one of the major water courses in the country, has over the years treated with little shaving, but the problem remains. What the Ministry of Works and Transport had to do was to place some face cream on the river, and then brag that major hydraulics works were done.

People are fed- up with flooding regardless of where it takes place. Remember that at the height of the Organization of American States in Port-of-Spain in 2009, then Government led by Patrick Manning promised to sort the problem in Port-of-Spain, our capital city.

Similarly, a former Minister of Works and Transport, again in Manning’s government, came to Caparo and promised us that flooding would be something of the past as the government has put away $175 million in the Treasury or so for the Caparo Project which was to include retaining dams and ponds, in depth excavation works on the river, closure of the Mamoral Cemetery, development of a fishing industry and the like.

Engineers from the Netherlands were brought to Caparo to survey the entire area. A group of students came from University of Tennessee came to survey the flood water to find solution to take home to solve their flooding issues. Local students came on field trips from our secondary schools to better understand the sufferings of the people of Caparo.

NO, NOTHING HAS TAKEN PLACE. Instead we are treated with flooding and more flooding and an outpouring of hampers.

Some residents are still awaiting government support from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Agriculture. Floods are responsible for low productivity, immobility, closure of business, and no movement of goods, services and people, especially in cases of medical emergency. Come on government leaders! Stop talking and start working to eradicate flooding once and for all. As the lack of action means no concern and care for the masses, and by extension the lack of social justice for the masses.