I was taken aghast to read about the Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan boast about 400 projects were undertaken by his Ministry to curtail floods in Trinidad. But I want to again raise the issue of the construction of the Mamoral Dam which was played up by his Cabinet colleague, Franklin Khan who was then Minister of Works and Transport in the Manning Administration.
Floods in Caparo continues to be a major source of irritation for the thousands of people who live in Caparo and the nearby communities. Yes, some shaving of the Caparo River sideways were done, but it is not substantial enough to ward off floods in these areas which have a historical character for generations, and whilst successive governments have promised positive responses and actions to initiate hydraulic works, nothing of substance has been done.
I remember vividly when in the horror of the persistent and horrific floods the people of Caparo have been enduring, Minister Khan came and told us that there was the sum of approximately of $175 million set stuck somewhere in the Treasury to sort out the Caparo Flood debacle. Not a word, not a drum was heard about that project.
A Dutch firm came here and did feasibility study and a report was handed out to the Government. Similarly, a study was done by a team of engineers from U.S. University, and these two reports, among several other local reports and surveys, but lo and behold, these reports are hidden in the Ministry’s cupboards where, “moths and butterflies” now feed on. When it floods, civilization as it a standstill. There is no movement of goods and services. A couple years ago, a pensioner drowned in the flood. And several religious, cultural and even funeral services had been postponed.
Mr. Sinanan, please look at the floods in Caparo and other parts of Central Trinidad, and not focus on Greenvale, principally, which is a vote bank. Additionally, I have written both as a community activist then, later as an elected representative of the people, and now as a resident of the area, but have had no responses. Earlier this year, I again wrote the Minister of Works and Transport about the urgency to undertake major infrastructural work on the Caparo River.
The Caparo floods must form an integral factor in any national flood mitigation programme. For how long, must the people of Caparo and environs such as Todds Road, Carr Trace, Sharpe Road, Brasso Piedra, Chickland Road, Ganesh Trace, Santa Phillipa Road, Fletcher’s Road, Durham Mills, among several other, suffer whilst we continuously hear of plans, programmes and strategies to ward off floods.
Floods in Trinidad make the Biblical floods a master joke. And after 57 years of Independence, like the relics of colonialism, floods continue to be our cultural heritage. Stop apologising about your inefficiencies and act as a responsible government for the national citizenry. avoid of party politics or representation.
I, again, Minister Sinanan and his team to visit the Caparo River Project and let us get something noteworthy and visible, so that the headache and trauma of floods would become an issue of the past. Let us start the work now, even it is being done for future generations. Let us ignore the adage that politicians look towards the next election, but
statesmen look towards the next generation.
Mr. Minister, try and graduate to become a statesman by sorting out the flood issue in Caparo.