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Sangre Grande corporation chairman: No quick fix for Matelot road woes

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Works and Infrastructure Minister Suruj Rambachan said he sent a team to clear debris along the Paria Main Road, Matelot, immediately after being informed of the problem. But Matelot resident John Lewis and chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon said the road was still covered with mud and debris, as landslides were a continuing problem. “We all at times look for a quick fix but that will not work,” Rondon said in a telephone interview.”



Rondon said that was because there was a spring in the land above the road and mud constantly slid off the hillside. “It is a very serious job because as soon as the road is cleared, more mud and slush come down,” he added. Though he praised Rambachan for his quick response, he hoped maintenance would continue until an expert assessment of the situation could be made and a permanent solution found.


Last week, Lewis walked in certain villages from Matelot to Port-of-Spain to raise awareness of bad road conditions and to deliver letters on the issue to Rambachan, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and President Anthony Carmona. While he delivered the letter to the Ministry of Works, he said security at the Office of the Prime Minister prevented him from leaving a letter there. Rambachan said yesterday he had not yet received a letter from Lewis. In an interview yesterday, Lewis said the roads were still filled with slush and mud.


“I have seen machinery there clearing the roads and yet day-after-day we have the same problems.” Lewis felt Government was not doing enough to help people in rural communities.



Rambachan’s response
Rambachan disagreed, telling the T&T Guardian that his ministry was spending millions of dollars on retaining walls and road restoration across the country. “We are building retaining walls in the whole of the Toco, Sangre Grande area. “We have instability of hillsides in a lot of areas and we have people living on the hillsides cutting away vegetation. When rain falls there is nothing to hold the dirt,” Rambachan added. He said part of the solution for landslides included a change in the behaviour of residents. 


Over the past week, he said, there had been landslips in Gasparillo, Penal, Flanagin Town and Tabaquite and the ministry was also addressing these areas. “There were two major landslides this weekend, one in Iere Village and another in Pointe-a-Pierre which affected between ten and 12 houses. In Sisters Road, we had nine landslips, one after the other. This is not just happening in the Toco area,” said Rambachan. He added that the ministry had teams working in those areas to treat with the problem.


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