"Drain the swamp". La Romaine resident complain of snakes, caiman

An acreage of the swamp about 15 feet deep, infested by caimans, snakes and mosquitoes has developed on the outskirts of a village in La Romaine, causing disease and destruction.

The swamp was created during the construction of the Solomon Hochoy highway extension from San Fernando to Oropouche near the Mosquito Creek in La Romaine. 

Around 10 am on Thursday, the residents staged a demonstration at the edge of a swamp at Murli Street, calling on Works Minister Rohan Sinanan to bring in equipment immediately to clean their community.

The residents said for eight months they have been bearing the stench of the swamp, hoping that someone in authority would clear the clogged watercourse and allow the stagnant flow to escape.

 Old, sprawling trees have fallen and rotted in the swamp while one house has already fallen down.

Another house owned by Oscar Jackson has no access for entry so he has to brave tall bushes and go through his neighbour's yard to get home. said the caimans come up from the swamp and crawl around the residents' homes. 

"I already caught three of them already. We cannot leave our children unattended because these caimans eating dog. It could attack our children" Jackson said. He said his girlfriend left him because she got fed up of jumping over drains to get to his house.

Trishawn Joseph said last week a resident was hospitalised after getting dengue fever.

"Since this lake came here, people have been falling ill. This is not the first time that someone got dengue in the back here. We are fed up. We want them to clean up here now, " she said.

Joseph said there were three newborn babies in the area and many children.

"We are worried about our children and nobody seems to care," Joseph said. 

Another resident Brieanna Joseph said the residents were being deprived of their right to enjoyment of the property.

She said since the highway construction began, nobody has bothered to investigate the problems left in their community.

Councillor for the area Sheldon Lal said he has raised the issue with the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan and Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein.

He said he also asked the works supervisor to clear the watercourse but the official refused to say it is not in his scope of works.

The residents said they will escalate their action if there is no redress.

Guardian Media will bring you more as this story unfolds.

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Ivan Toolsie.

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