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Lee Sing: No feedback on city’s egress plan
Two years have passed and Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh has not yet responded to Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing’s egress plan for the city. Despite this an egress plan has been made available to the public, via the city corporation’s Web site.
It is aimed at allowing for control of the flow of people in an orderly manner if they need to leave the city rapidly in the event of flooding. Disaster Management Unit co-ordinator Keith Cook said the plan posted online was the official one that had been published in newspapers last year.
But Lee Sing said: “Unless we can get the minister to agree on a plan, there is no plan.” In previous interviews last year Lee Sing said it had been formulated but awaited input from the Minister of Education as 52 schools within the city limits would be affected.
Though Lee Sing acknowledged that a plan had been published on the corporation’s Web site, he said in a telephone interview yesterday it was nowhere near the stage of implementation. “The plan would have been done in consultation with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management but had to be signed off by the Ministry of Education in order to be implemented,” he added.
Lee Sing said that was because the minister had to agree on who would be responsible for giving directions to schools in the event that the plan had to be carried out. He added: “We are doing the work necessary while we wait on the final signature from Minister Gopeesingh but it is almost as though this is not important. We requested a meeting and I do not understand why he has not set a date to meet with us.”
Cook said the unit would seek to educate the public on the plan and other disaster management areas through educational activities, such as a calypso competition on June 1 for children.
The plan says if the egress becomes necessary, owing to severe flooding, people who are indoors will shelter in place, preferably on high ground, monitor radio and television broadcasts, until it is deemed safe by the “incident commander” for them to leave the building. This applies to all workers and students.
To date, the corporation’s plan treats only with flooding. Gopeesingh could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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