WORKS and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has denied his ministry discriminates against residents of South and Central Trinidad.
Sinanan led a team from the ministry yesterday at a news conference at its Port of Spain headquarters, during which he replied to allegations. He explained that over 70 per cent of the island’s 407 landslips were in those areas—South and Central—adding that some issues were not being immediately addressed due to the large volume of outstanding work.
Present were Navin Ramsingh, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry; Mahadeo Jagdeo, director of Bridges and Traffic Management; Anil Mohansingh, acting Director of Highways; and Hayden Phillip, director of the PURE (Programme For Upgrading Roads Efficiency) unit.
Focus on critical landslips
Sinanan dismissed protesters as a “group who feel they want revolution in Trinidad and Tobago”. He said he was at pains to ensure there was “proper” information in the public domain.
Deputy permanent secretary Ramsingh then explained that due to the type of soil, landslips there will always be an issue in these areas, adding that “every year, new landslips are formed, with existing landslips still to be repaired”.
He said the ministry tends to focus on critical landslips, which are repaired quickly as they affect a large number of people.
He also explained that in Trinidad there were two kinds of roads—traditional footpaths which later became roads developed organically, while others roads were planned and properly engineered for water run-off.
“Most of the landslips occur on naturally formed roads, as water from intense rainfall briefly reduces friction gravity of the soil and causes landslips,” he said.
He also said the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) not attending to leaks quickly enough was another cause of landslips, along with deforestation with excessive rainfall.
Ramsingh said the ministry’s “early intervention initiative” to deal with landslips immediately had been up and running since 2012, while they also plan to engage the Town and Country department especially for potential South home owners on how to design their homes to sustain land movement.
He said the ministry also plans to suggest to WASA to not only repair its leaks as soon as possible, but install better quality pipes.
On Saturday, supporters of the Opposition United National Congress began what they called the “October Revolution”—protesting the non-repair of landslips in areas leading to their homes.