By ALICIA CHAMELY
NOOOOOO! We weren’t ready!
If there was an award for the Fastest Flooding Nation, I am pretty sure Trinidad and Tobago will be a top contender.
Year after year our rivers burst their banks, half of Central gets washed away, the Creek becomes more of a mess and Port-of-Spain returns to its pre backfilled days as a swamp.
Like many Trinbagonians I went to sleep on Saturday expecting a rainy Sunday only to awake to TROPICAL STORM WARNING, and like most Trinbagonians I had very little in place.
We’ve been lucky to have avoided serious weather systems and as such some of us have become a little lazy. Unfortunately as was evident on Sunday it appears our national services have also fallen into the “nah man it will blow over” mindset.
Fun fact, the Diego Martin Regional Corporation had sand bags for everyone! The catch? They had no sand. That’s true folks! I did say it was a fact!
So if you lived in a “for sure to flood” area, you better off having your own sand because I could not imagine any hardware or other sand retailer being open.
Speaking of retailers being open, I found rather upsetting that while the country was plunged in to a watery panic, fast food restaurants, grocery stores and other seven-days-a-week business stayed open.
I can only imagine the sinking feeling every one of those employees felt wondering if they would be able to get home or if their home had been spared the flooding.
But, let’s get back on track. I was immensely disturbed our Prime Minister left his loving nation while under Tropical Storm Warning. I mean… Then adding insult to injury I had to watch a series of government ministers high five one another on Monday for their amazing response to the flooding.
Hey geniuses how about stop reacting and be proactive? Firstly flooding in TT historically is a result of poor planning, insufficient and poorly maintained infrastructure.
Let’s look at down town Port-of-Spain, every time it rains during a high tide it floods. How to do we solve this? Perhaps besides clear out the underground drainage systems a little more regularly, we dredge the waterfront. Not the pretty waterfront, the one just before Sea Lots, by the lighthouse.
If dredging isn’t possible, how about retention tanks? Look the possibilities are endless if you make them a priority.
Town & Country, don’t feel you escape, for years you have turned a blind eye to dodgy developers building in flood prone areas without correct drainage. And where the hell is the damn Forestry Division? Are they still functional? Shouldn’t they be responsible for dealing with slash and burn squatters and for re-planting trees on the bare hillsides?
Listen I am not blaming this Government. I am blaming EVERY GOVERNMENT SINCE INDEPENDENCE that failed to address the infrastructural inadequacies of our drainage systems.
It’s NOT only the Government to blame. Why we nasty so? Every year we see mountains of garbage caught in our drains and rivers. Every year someone jumps up and says “Ban plastic bottles! They cause flooding.”
No, what causes flooding are the morons who think if they pelt their garbage out of their car some magic garbage fairy makes it disappear.
Even if plastic bottles, were banned, what about the old fridges, tires, rubber slippers, matrasses and other items. Are we going to ban them to? No, the answer is don’t be so stink, have some pride and put your garbage where it belongs… not in the drain.
Folks let also take some personal responsibility. You see your neighbor putting their garbage in their river, or someone in your area doing some crack pot construction and disrupting the drainage, report it. Because while snitches get stitches, recovering from a “may or may not happen” kick up is a lot less painful than watching your home get destroyed and crying about your ruined living room set you only had one more Courts payment to make.
Finally to those jackasses, who decided to steal the soil from the embankments the Government built to help with flooding in some of our most vulnerable areas, let me ask you this, “Is your mother of proud you?”
I understand Karen whipped her hair in our face without much time to spare, but time and time again the same flooding for the same reasons happens.
I don’t think God is a Trini.
I think he just feels sorry for us, because after all these years we still can’t get our act together. So let’s hope we do just a little better next time.