PORT OF SPAIN — Government needs to raise $40 million to complete flood prevention measures in Port-of-Spain.
Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George told the T&T Guardian approximately $50 million was needed to clean drains and rivers in the city but so far only $10 million was available for the project. George said contracts have been awarded for cleaning the rivers but not for the drains.
He said he could not comment on other initiatives to combat flooding, such as work on retention ponds and the Mamoral Dam, as he recently took up office and had not had an opportunity to address those projects, because he had been dealing with traffic-related matters.
He added: “I know the retention pond built on upper South Quay has been working well. It has been avoiding flooding on Upper South Quay.”
Asked if other retention ponds would be built, he said that was something he was yet to address. George said rivers scheduled to be cleaned were the St Ann’s and the Diego Martin Rivers.
Another flood-prevention measure which appears to be at a standstill is the gullysucker bought during the term of former Port-of-Spain mayor Murchison Brown.
Current mayor Louis Lee Sing, who was asked about the status of the equipment, said he recently had asked about it and was told it would be “back up and running”, but could offer no further information. Lee Sing also admitted there had been little progress on the egress plan for evacuation of the city in the event of major flooding or other emergencies.
The implementation of the plan has been stalled because Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh has not yet approved the part of the plan that deals with the evacuation of the 52 schools in the city.
While Trinidad and Tobago is outside the hurricane belt and is usually not affected by storms during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, parts of the country, including Port-of-Spain, are prone to flooding during moderate to heavy rainfall. According to the Met Office, T&T is currently in a “neutral phase” of the rainy season. (Guardian)