Six months after residents of Greenvale, La Horquetta, suffered widespread flooding in their community, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday gave the assurance that such disaster will never happen again.
Rowley’s comments came after he toured the housing development, which was adversely affected by flooding following heavy and persistent showers on October 19, 2018.
The PM also viewed works on the second phase of the $400 million Cumuto to Manzanilla Highway which was awarded to Kallco in 2017.
Accompanied by Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, Housing Minister Edmund Dillon and a technical team, Rowley visited Greenvale to examine dredging, widening and building of an embankment along the community’s nearby river, which overflowed its banks and flooded out 438 residents’ homes. Rowley also saw the building of berms and concrete cylinders which will be replaced by outfalls to facilitate a larger volume of water.
Addressing the media at the end of the tour, Rowley said Greenvale residents managed to “survive” the ordeal, which had not been easy. However, he said the Ministry of Works and the Housing Development Corporation have been undertaking rigorous engineering works to ensure that flooding does not reoccur. These works, he said, will ensure that “what happened last year will not easily happen again.”
Rowley said he expects all the works to be completed at the end of the dry season. “So we are working overtime. We expect comfort for the people who live in here who were traumatised by the flooding last year. We expect protection of property and life in here,” he said.
When the rainy season kicks in, the PM said residents will see a more efficient water movement with the installation of two new pumps placed on the banks of the Caroni River to push the water out.
Rowley also expressed satisfaction with works on the highway, which will be done in three packages. Package two, which was awarded to Kallco, involves the construction of five kilometres of roadway, with works expected to be completed in August within the $400 million budget.
Packages one and three are yet to be tendered, Sinanan said. The 34-km long highway starts at the Cumuto Interchange and ends at Manzanilla Beach Interchange and by the first quarter of 2020, Sinanan said the entire project will be finished.
Sinanan and Rowley recalled that shortly after the project started, environmental group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea raised concerns about the highway being built on a buffer zone of the protected Aripo Savannas and took the matter to court. After a year-long court battle, they said the ministry was given clearance by the Privy Council to continue the project.
Rowley said motorists using the highway will be able to have easy access to the east coast.
“It would open up a lot of land for agriculture, forestry and other activity,” Rowley said.
Sinanan also gave the assurance that the highway was being built outside of the buffer zone. He promised that trees would be replanted to prevent land erosion and help with the environment. Also, tunnels at specific locations will be constructed under the highway to allow animals living in the areas to get from one area to another. (SH)
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali