Friday, January 19, 2018

Harsh words for ministers

No Sea Lots traffic wardens yet...


HARSH WORDS IN SEA LOTS: Pearl James, the mother of Ryan Rampersad, one of the victims of the accident last Sunday in Sea Lots, Port of Spain, berates Works Minister Emmanuel George following his visit to the area yesterday morning. –Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

(BI) Feedloader User

GOVERNMENT Ministers Jack Warner and Emmanuel George were berated by angry Sea Lots residents for failing to immediately get traffic wardens to stop traffic to allow children and elderly across the Beetham Highway during peak hours.

Both ministers were confronted after they told residents it would take at least three days to place traffic wardens at the site.

However, police officers gave the assurance they would step in to ensure residents could safely cross during peak hours.

Warner, who kept his promise to meet with the residents yesterday, was accompanied by George, Minister in the Ministry of Works and Transport Stacy Roopnarine, other Works Ministry officials and technocrats from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC).

The ministers' visit was to explain to residents what needed to be done before a walk-over which spans the Beetham Highway could be erected.

Residents demanded a walk-over be constructed following the deaths of a mother and her two daughters on Sunday. Haydee Paul, 28, and her two daughters—Akasha, eight, and Shakira, seven—were killed instantly after they were struck by a car driven by an off-duty police officer.

The car mounted the pavement near the corner of Production Avenue and the highway. Three other people were also seriously injured.

Hayden Phillip, the director of the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency, told residents the walk-over will take a while to get built.

He said the Works Ministry had to consider the removal of power lines, water mains and even gas lines before a foundation for the walk-over could be built, and those lines were deeply buried installations and would take a while to be moved.

Steve Joseph, the head of WASA's water distribution department, was also in Sea Lots and said there were "two major pipelines, namely a 21-inch steel main and 36-inch WASA line and we will have to do a proper assessment and that will take some time", he said.

The residents accepted the explanation because, according to one main spokesperson, "we have contractors living here too so we understand what is going on".

When told traffic wardens would not be available immediately, the residents got angry.

One outspoken resident, who spoke directly to both ministers, said, "All we want is a preservation of life. This is how it is. Life is important and we are here to preserve life.

"All yuh coming and try and brush it off, and I will say this—anytime it cost our lives, it is chaos. We want wardens (traffic wardens) here in the morning at designated times... okay. God is the boss."

The residents said they also felt insulted by the heavy police and army presence during the visit by the ministers.

They asked why if so many police and soldiers could be present while the Government team was there, couldn't a police officer or a traffic warden be assigned to get their children and elderly safely across the road on a morning and afternoon.

"If you can get all them police and soldiers to come and run over we, then bring them down to cross the people. We are not going through that anymore," said an irate resident. See Page 8.