Friday, January 19, 2018

WASA to blame

Warner tells protesting residents:


unfinished: Minister of Works Jack Warner, centre foreground, looks at the site of an incomplete landslip repair project along the Moruga Road in St Mary's Village during a tour of the area yesterday. Two weeks ago, residents held protest action over road conditions in the area. —Photo DAVE PERSAD

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Minister of Works and Infrastructure Jack Warner has blamed the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) for the bad road conditions in Moruga and surrounding communities.

Warner responded to the residents' cries for a meeting yesterday, following fiery protests last week.

"I am getting very angry with WASA's work. In almost every case I had for roads, WASA has been the cause. I have tried my best to keep quiet, but I cannot any more. Those bad roads in Moruga Road and Indian Walk are as a result of WASA repairs, and you only begin to know when the roads begin to collapse," he said.

Warner suggested WASA run pipelines above the ground to find leaks when they occur.

"I will make that suggestion to the Minister of Public Utilities when I see him because I am at my wits' end when it comes to road works caused by leaks or running lines," he said.

Warner said he understood the plight of motorists having to drive on bad roads.

"I could understand people getting vex with Gypsy (MP for Mayaro Winston Peters). I can understand their anger," he said.

Peters was confronted by angry residents, during a public meeting in Rio Claro on Sunday, who complained about bad roads in the area.

The argument became heated and police intervened, which was caught on video and aired on television. Peters said some of those who were complaining were People's National Movement (PNM) supporters.

The PNM, in a statement yesterday, said Peters' behaviour was "in direct violation of the oath of office taken by elected members of Parliament, who pledge to serve all citizens."

The party condemned Peters' conduct and accused the Government of "discriminating against citizens who are perceived to be supporters of the PNM".

Warner said yesterday the ability of his ministry to respond to the needs of constituents was being stymied by the shutting down and auditing of the ministry's Programme for Upgrading Road Efficiency (PURE), the unit responsible for road repaving and repair projects.

He agreed that people were suffering and help had been slow in coming. He said from a staff of 71 persons, PURE now runs on "just three or four" people.

Moruga residents are demanding that landslides be repaired and roads resurfaced.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited her constituency in Penal on Monday evening, following protests for new roads. And residents of Rio Claro, Tabaquite and Mayaro have also staged fiery protests over bad roads and a lack of water.

Warner said the roads in Penal were the responsibility of the Penal/ Debe Regional Corporation.

"I will not visit Penal because the prime minister was there already," he said.