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Works Minister to go after illegal land developers

Published: 
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Flooding after Storm Bret...
Dennis Rajgobin tries to rescue a dog from a river in National Mining Road, Mon Desir, yesterday . PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Inundated with calls to address the issue of flooding in some areas following Tropical Storm Bret, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says illegal land developers will have to face stiff penalties for the devastation they are causing other citizens.

In an interview yesterday, Sinanan said while severe weather conditions were acts of God, 75 per cent of the flooding that followed was man-made, mostly through illegal construction and pollution.

He was responding to questions on the flooding of several communities along the southwest Peninsula over the past three days. Heavy rainfall last Thursday and Friday resulted in parts of Point Fortin, Fyzabad, Mon Desir, Dow Village and Rousillac being under water up to four feet high. Similar to the southern communities, Sinanan said the recent flood and gushing of muddy water through St Ann’s last week was the result of a developer who cut into the hill. He said those developments that cause damage was done without approval “We will have to look at the legislation to ensure people desist from interfering with watercourses because you cannot easily get approval to do any work there.”

Sinanan said he will look at the penalties to see if there was need for amendments.

“Yes, flooding is a natural occurrence, but 75 per cent of the problem is manmade.

Besides the illegal development, we will also have to consider a ban on plastic. When you look in the underground drains and culverts, you’re always finding bottles and Styrofoam blocking the water from flowing,” Sinanan said.

Along the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension, bordering Fyzabad and Mon Desir, the Siparia Regional Corporation was filling parts of the lagoon with sand in order to stop the flow of water into Silver Stream Road, where several houses were flooded. On the other side, Nidco had cut the National Mining Road in order to increase the flow of water into a nearby river.

The communities are part of the Oropouche Lagoon but residents said they have never experienced floods in their homes. Sinanan said unplanned development in low-lying areas usually cause flooding. Since the highway was built, there has been several earthworks done on the surrounding land.