Sunday 5 July, 2020

Rambharat: Steps being taken to prevent major landslide in St James

Pictured: Private development at Upper Bournes Road, St James. Photos via Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS).

Pictured: Private development at Upper Bournes Road, St James. Photos via Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS).

Measures are being taken to prevent the occurrence of a major landslide at Upper Bournes Road in St James in relation to a private development in the area.

Addressing the matter during Monday’s sitting of the Senate, Acting Leader of Government Business Clarence Rambharat gave the assurance that the contractor has contingencies in place should a landslide occur, especially given that T&T is in the rainy season.

Rambharat was responding to a query from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on the measures being taken to safeguard residents against the potential damage.

Residents have protested the continuation of the project, and have gone as far as filing a complaint with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) citing “symptoms of respiratory and skin irritation as a result of the airborne sediment transmission.”

Rambharat said discussions led by the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government and the Ministry of Agriculture took place late last year with the contractor.

These discussions took place throughout the stay-at-home orders and shutdown of non-essential activity as Government sought to manage its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rambharat indicated that the contractors approached the Government to carry out work during the COVID-19 restrictions to deal with the possibility of a landslide brought on by deluge.

“The contractor has been taking the appropriate steps to contain any risk. The agencies continue to monitor, including the Corporations, the Ministry of Agriculture and the EMA and would ensure that steps are taken, particularly given the weather patterns to ensure that there is no risk to those houses which are just beneath the development.”

Questioned further by Senator Mark on the specific steps to avoid the dislocation of residents, Rambharat said the developer has put several emergency measures in place, including the benching of sites to reduce the potential for soil erosion.

Additionally, the development of the drainage has been accelerated so that in the event of heavy rain there would be no flooding or other issues.

Rambharat added: “And, the developer has put in place emergency measures, including have water and the access to the equipment on the site. There is a contractor nearby to give access to the equipment on-site in the event that unusual rainfall brings further damage.”

The developer is also in constant contact with the residents, with representatives on-site speaking to the residents.

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