DIEGO Martin Regional Corporation chairman, Anthony Sammy, said yesterday there were persons using the misfortune of those hit by floods in that district to “score cheap political points”.
Sammy said claims by some residents, and by Diego Martin Central MP Amery Browne, that certain areas were ignored or slow to be assisted in the drive to disburse relief supplies to flood victims were erroneous.
At a press conference at the corporation yesterday to address what he said was “misinformation” in the press, Sammy said the corporation has treated fairly with all residents and has tried to provide relief in an orderly manner, to ensure that the neediest cases were served quickly.
“I am disheartened when people can use other people’s distress to score cheap political points,” Sammy said, adding that Browne and others are aware that he, Sammy, has been at the forefront of relief and mitigation efforts.
Residents in the Mason Street area held protests over the weekend, blocking the road and burning tyres in response to what they said was neglect by the authorities in the wake of last Friday’s massive flooding.
Sammy said there were no protests following last year’s devastation and he felt there was a connection between the protests and the October 21 local government elections.
In addition to assistance rendered to Mason Street, Sammy said about 80 homes on Jean and Evergreen Streets have been provided with hampers, mattresses and were assisted with cleaning up.
Sammy said he wished to appeal to residents and those in office to “come together” during times of disaster rather than use the occasion for political gain.
Sammy said this year’s post-flood efforts were well-coordinated and were executed at less cost to the corporation, given the level of assistance from sister corporations, NGOs, the Red Cross and other volunteers.
One family had been moved to the public shelter in the Diego Martin Community Centre last Friday but was subsequently relocated to Oropune, he said.
Responding to criticism that the corporation had failed to protect the residents from a repeat of last year’s flooding phenomenon, Sammy said the mitigation efforts had included the clearing of 85 underground drains, while the clearing of the waterways was the responsibility of the Ministry of Works.
There were others factors negating the work of the corporation, he said — chief among them climate change and litterbugs.
Sammy said large cities around the world, including in the US, Germany and Russia, with the most modern planning were facing floods on a scale never seen before, as a result of climate change.
The corporation is also still trying to get littering under control and he encouraged anyone with information about litterbugs, which often includes persons who come from outside the community to dump garbage into the waterways in Diego Martin, to notify the corporation of the offenders’ identities.