PORT OF SPAIN –– A fiery protest by Morvant residents yesterday created dangerous obstructions across the Lady Young Road, Lady Young Avenue, Coconut Drive, Seventh Avenue Malick and Second Caledonia.
Eight residents were subsequently detained as police officers attempted to quell the protest and to allow the Fire Service to extinguish fires set during the protests. The roadways were eventually cleared by personnel from the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation.
However, the protests, which began at 5 a.m., caused traffic gridlock for motorists attempting to enter and exit Morvant. As a result, part of the Priority Bus Route was opened to light motor vehicular traffic—from Abattoir Road to Morvant Junction.
Officers form the North Eastern Division Task Force, assisted by officers of the Port of Spain Division, Guard and Emergency Branch, Inter-Agency Task Force and Traffic Branch, responded to reports of the protests.
The residents were protesting over over the lack of a proper water supply in the area and unavailability of jobs.
Morvant resident Anthony Assing said for over 22 years the community has been faced with terrible water woes.
“It have a standpipe but it never have water. The roads are mashing up more and more and it makes it very difficult for the children to get to school,” Assing said.
“It ain’t even have a proper Cepep job for we to clean the sides of the road and this issue is for over three years. We don’t even see the member for parliament Adrian Leonce. He don’t come around to hear our concerns.”
Assing said the people were fed up of the “constant neglect” of the current administration.
“If nothing is done we will continue protesting,” Assing said.
Resident Francis Joseph said he has been living in the area since 1963 and whilst he appreciated that the Water and Sewerage Authority saw it fit to lay waste water pipes, he did not appreciate how they attended to the alleged eruption of an underground cylinder.
“They backfill it but the sewer and waste water running all over the road and all over the yard. That dangerous for our health and the health of our children. It also causing the land to eat away [erode],” Joseph claimed.
During the protests there were widespread rumours that residents had shot at the police. However, North Eastern Division’s acting senior superintendent Surrendra Sagramsingh dispelled the reports as false.
Efforts to reach Laventille East/Morvant MP, Adrian Leonce for comment proved futile as calls to his phone went unanswered.
According to a release from the T&T Police Service (TTPS), a heavy police presence was maintained in the Morvant district last night to ensure peace was maintained.