Thursday 27 February, 2020

Gopeesingh: No major Divali celebrations for Caroni flood victims

Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh has painted a picture of doom and gloom for members of his constituency who will not be able to host major Divali celebrations due to flooding which occurred two weeks ago.

Gopeesingh said it was a heartbreaking sight when he visited 1000 homes in the past eight days. Two weeks ago, flood waters reached record heights in areas such as St Helena, Madras, El Carmen, Warrenville and Kelly Village. These areas were among the worst-hit communities in the country as parts of East, Central and South Trinidad, as well as Tobago, were affected. Homeowners suffered severe damage to all of their material possessions including appliances, clothing, furniture and many vehicles, as well as their physical home structures.

Gopeesingh said he has distributed relief items consisting of mainly cleaning supplies to affected residents.

However, he expressed concern that the Ministry of Social Development has not visited a large number of people since the incident.

This was revealed via statement which read, “He noted that about 30-40% of homes have not as yet been assessed by the Ministry of Social Development and he assured the residents that he would make representation on their behalf, to ensure that they are provided with the Government aid in their time of serious need.”

On October 31, the Caroni East MP continued his walkabouts along the main roads, side streets and traces of Kelly, St Helena, Madras and El Carmen giving relief hampers, food, mattresses and water to affected residents. He said he will be working with officials of the Ministry of Social Development to re-evaluate home-owners and ensure that their claims for flood relief cheques are registered and the payments made.

Meanwhile, Gopeesingh said he has sought the assistance of the Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein to address the issue of massive piles of garbage, damaged appliances and furniture along streets in several areas.

He said this can cause a potentially serious health and environmental crisis in the areas.

However, Gopeesingh said Sinanan indicated that the Ministries have enlisted the help of private contractors for the cleanup activities and that hopefully within a three-day period, cleanup would have been completed in time for Divali.

During his walkabout, the UNC MP told residents that he would submit their names and relevant information to the Ministry for consideration of relief cheques, noting that he has been and will continue to work with the Ministry, to ensure that no one is left out.

He said he has also sought the assistance of Chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, Paul Leacock and Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Chairman, Henry Awong, to assist with the cleanup of flood debris in addition to cesspit cleaning and sanitising. He said he was assured of their intentions to aid residents.

Gopeesingh’s flood relief efforts and assessments continue this week in other areas of the constituency and he is asking affected residents who are yet to be assessed, to call his constituency office at 693-1167 or 693-1560 to register their queries/requests.


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