Embattled Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing has thrown in the towel, admitting that he "needs help from the central government" to address the critical flooding problem in the capital city. "I need help from central government on this matter...The Port-of-Spain City Corporation does not have the human or physical resources to do the thing on our own," Lee Sing told the Guardian yesterday. He made the comment after Port-of-Spain was affected by severe flooding Saturday night after heavy rainfall earlier in the day.
The corporation has already begun working closely with Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner and his ministry to treat with flooding in Port-of-Spain, the mayor said. Stressing that that he "had no choice," Lee Sing said: "We have been speaking with Warner for the past nine months. "We met with him and an entire team from his ministry and external consultants two weeks ago. "They (the consultants) offered, in my opinion, real solutions to the problem. "I have been calling on all to stop talking and begin the process of fixing the problem.
"Warner has expressed the same view...I am optimistic that we are going to get on top of the flooding problem in the city." The mayor said it was established that key drains in the city and key watercourses that take water out of the city were clogged. He said teams from the City Corporation and the Works Ministry, including the external consultants, visited the Woodbrook area together on Saturday night which was covered by floodwaters. He said a watercourse, a continuation of the Maraval River, traditionally took water out of the area and deposited it in the former swampland area now occupied by MovieTowne.
That could have been a contributory factor in the flooding of the area, he said. Further, the parking of vehicles on King George V Park might have had something to do with it too, he added. "The compacting of the earth in the park can cause the water to run off into the St Clair and Woodbrook areas," Lee Sing said. He said the main challenge was at the Princess Elizabeth Home and on Ariapita Avenue. "I don't want to have to visit the Princess Elizabeth Home again (for this reason)," the mayor said.
"The entire facility, including the surgical theatre, was under water...It means that differently-abled children who need surgery may have to wait longer." Lee Sing said Goodwill Industries, another organisation that assisted special children, as well as St Crispin's primary school, was under water too. He said he walked house-to-house in the area talking to residents whose homes were flooded out and corporation workers toiled all night to address the problem.