Moruga is a rural village in the southernmost part of Trinidad and is arguably home to the most landslides in the country.
A journey through the community descends into gaping potholes and eroded roadways which have created even narrower pathways.
The roads are still traversed by commuters and motorists who brave the uncertainty and take alternative routes to get into other areas such as Princes Town and San Fernando when the usual access points become impassable.
To the credit of the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT), several landslips have received interim attention. However, the job is often left abandoned by contractors who have complained that they have not been paid to finish the job. As a result, the patchwork and metal encasings also slip away.
This has been a reality for villagers for many years.
On Tuesday morning, angry residents blocked the main road in Rock River, Cachipe Village and Grand Chemin to express outrage over the landslides that are threatening to cut off access to their respective communities.
Loop News spoke with the MP for Moruga/Tableland Michelle Benjamin who lamented that $178 million was allocated to fix the roadway in Moruga in 2017. This was meant to address issues beginning from Petit Cafe to Marac Village and should have been completed in 2019. However, according to her, the road is as bad as ever.
“The Moruga road has not really benefitted from this large allocation. What we have is failing projects, more landslips, numerous potholes and to add insult to injury we have WASA; every time a project is completed it has to be dug back up [due to] a leaking WASA main.”
In fact, one family is forced to move and they have nowhere to go.
The MP said at one of the protest sites located at 1454 Cachipe Village, Moruga, a house is expected to collapse. The property is owned by Lorna Hamilton and her husband.
“They would have done their own retaining wall inside of their property to try to save their home but due to no drainage along the roadway, the land keep giving way. Land movement persists with regards to the rain and the runoff so the house has moved in the sense that all her beam is cracked. They were told to move out of the structure because it is unsafe so actually they are packing up but the family is…to say it how they told me, ‘packing to go where Ms Benjamin?’ They have no money and they have nowhere to go.”
Benjamin said one night of heavy rains can make access to Moruga impossible.
Thus, she said residents want a stakeholders’ meeting with the Ministers of Works and Public Utilities as well as the WASA CEO to chart a way forward.
All calls to Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan went unanswered. At the time of publication, he did not respond to a message sent via WhatsApp.
It should be noted that a string of protests has occurred in Trinidad in recent times. Just yesterday, members of the public blocked parts of the North Coast Road with burning debris over the police killing of Meschach Gibson. Protests also took place in Barrackpore simultaneously over poor road conditions.
Credit: Source link