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Row continues over how to evacuate city
Bacchanal is brewing at the Port-of-Spain City Corporation as CEO Winifred David and Robin Bynoe, councillor for St James West and chairman of the Disaster Preparedness and Security Committee, are still at loggerheads over how an egress plan for the city was presented to the public.
The plan was published three weeks ago in two daily newspapers, with mistakes. It identified the Wild Flower Park, Queen’s Park West, as the Wildfowl Trust, Pointe-a-Pierre. Since then the plan has not been advertised. It was completed and signed off on December 17, 2010 but “for some reason or the other the CEO kept dragging her feet about announcing it publicly,” Bynoe said yesterday.
“I gave instructions for the corporation to do an extensive advertising campaign about the plan but that was never followed. They just did what they wanted because I never knew it came out in the newspapers in the first place,” added Bynoe who is also the OSHA compliance officer for the city of Port-of-Spain.
Asked what was its current status, Bynoe said he would have to instruct again that the plan should be re-advertised to properly sensitise the public. “This is what they should have done in the first place… so what they did was just a waste of money,” Bynoe added.
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing, when contacted yesterday on the status of the plan, said:
“That plan is the subject of ongoing discussion between the chairman of the committee and the CEO regarding the whole question of how the administration proceeded with it.”
The mayor also complained that recommendations made by council were not carried out. Bynoe, the lone UNC councillor at the corporation, agreed with Lee Sing. “It’s a free-for-all because people are just doing what they want. The corporation is just being abused,” Bynoe added.
He said if there was a problem, he could no longer approach David to have a personal discussion but rather had to wait for a committee meeting at the beginning at every month. “Last week garbage at Fort George was not collected for six days. The public must not suffer,” Bynoe added.
He said he approached David last year about an evacuation plan for the corporation’s building in Port-of-Spain but was yet to get a response. “In case of emergency, people in the building do not know what do because we have not done any drills,” he added.
Bynoe also presented a plan to have the vendors who sell food on the pavement in St James to use the St James market instead in the afternoon. That too has not materialised as preparations at the market to accommodate the vendors were not completed.
Describing the situation at the corporation as “toxic,” Bynoe said he called on Lee Sing to intervene and also requested intervention from Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan. Calls to David’s cellphone went unanswered and messages left were not returned up to late yesterday.
When the T&T Guardian called the corporation’s office an employee said David was not in office last week and was not there yesterday. Asked when David would return, the employee had no idea.
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