Flood woes of our making
When I was younger and living in Montrose, Chaguanas, and the Caparo River burst its banks after heavy rainfall, the entire Montrose community flooded and no one listened to our cries and pleas. This went on for years and years,but still no relief came.
Year after year, every rainy season, it used to be the same thing: flooding inside my grandmother's house on Fitt Street.
Then People's National Movement (PNM) minister of works Colm Imbert said he had to conduct a $12 million survey to determine the cause of the flooding and we had no redress.
People from other parts of Trinidad used to laugh at us in Montrose and say, "Who tell allyuh to go and live near to a river?"
When citizens of Penal, Debe and Barrackpore used to be crying on front pages of newspapers after suffering losses in crops and livestock —their livelihoods— from flooding, people in the North, some of them my co-workers, would read and just shake their heads in sympathy, turn the page and move on, glad that it wasn't happening to them.
Imbert said these southland floods were, in fact, not real flooding and refused to declare a state of emergency to deal with its devastating effects. Instead, he said floods in the Mississippi, USA, are what constitute a real emergency.
Now, Imbert, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and others demand help for their constituents in Diego Martin. It is hitting home for those in north Trinidad, and they want the entire country to drop everything and focus on them.
The problem in Diego is that the cutting of the mountainside causes their flooding. Their problem is man-made. Sorry to say, but what did they expect? The relevant authorities continuously put out warnings and do's and don'ts when it comes to environmental practices, yet no one listens.
Will excavated hillsides be able to withstand Mother Nature's wrath? From what we have seen and experienced, clearly not. In Montrose, after years of suffering, we had a problem finally fixed by a United National Congress (UNC) government when they came into power, without any $12 million-dollar survey.
I'm really sorry two persons lost their lives It is never easy losing loved ones, but it took the loss of millions of dollars in property and lives for calls for construction on the hillsides to stop.
We as a people must take responsibility for our own actions and stop blaming the government, especially for something caused by our own misdeeds and the forces of Mother Nature.