Stench of politicking in Diego Martin disaster
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation stated a “drainage plan will be drafted by Venezuelans in October (2013), free of charge”, to alleviate flooding in the Diego Martin and Petit Valley areas after devastating floods two years in a row, in the region for which he is responsible.
That uplifting news is two years too late for affected residents, Mr Anthony Sammy.
This is the second year we have heard complaints about residents not receiving timely assistance and support from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and the corporation.
Affected citizens obviously find themselves at a loss as to what to do, besides bailing out water and trying to save what they can after being flooded out. It is unconscionable neither the ODPM nor the corporation have any plan in place to prevent it.
Since the last devastation, from which many Diego Martin residents have not yet fully recovered and who state they have not seen any Government representative to this day, I must ask why the army wasn’t called out to support and assist?
They are fit, capable, disciplined, have the manpower, an engineering component and helicopters, particularly useful to those unable to be reached by wheeled transport. Why aren’t they being used when national disasters like this occur? CEPEP (Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme) and URP (Unemployment Relief Programme) are ill-equipped for the job and evidently so are the Diego Martin Corporation and the hapless ODPM.
After the first devastating flood and landslide, residents stated remedial work was either not initiated or completed along the riverbank, in the river and its environs. Similar reports were made to the media earlier this year by concerned residents, fearful of another flood. Some even stated the mouth of the Diego Martin river was silted up and full of bush and trees and, also, retaining walls and drains were either not constructed or repaired.
This was vehemently denied by Mr Sammy, but he showed no proof to the contrary.
Over the last two years, I have not heard of any reforestation work on the denuded hillsides or of owners/developers of property constructed without proper drainage—to the detriment of those below—being charged for breaking the law.
Also, no homeowner has been charged for illegal clearing/uprooting of trees and brush, which save our soil from being washed into the rivers and streams.
No mention has been made of any investigation into Town and Country Planning
approvals for hillside development which contributed to the landslides.
I smell the stench of politicking in this Diego Martin/Petit Valley disaster.