Like many residents in Aranguez and environs, Vinda Bachan and his family are thankful that the Government has been attempting to alleviate flooding and erosion in the area.
In September 2019 approximately 350 acres of cultivated land were submerged by floodwaters and farmers lost their crops.
To avoid a recurrence, in October last year the Ministry of Works and Transport Drainage Division started construction of retaining walls in the San Juan River.
The completed works should have prevented thousands of residents from being flooded again, instead, it is affecting the Bachan Family now.
According to Bachan, 65, the ministry asked for permission to remove his fence and push back a garage that was on his property, something he agreed to. He said though the ministry took it too far.
“They dig more than where they ask to come, they damage all here right, my coconut tree was standing they dig right around it next thing it fall and when it fall I would be at a lost because I does get the coconuts,” he explained.
The pensioner told Guardian Media that he lost his leg in November last year and cannot stay at home because the wheelchair is unable to enter the space left by the ministry for him to enter his yard.
“I had to turn back one day because nobody was here and the condition of here I had to turn back, “he said
“Yesterday the wheel stick up and they had to come and pull it, “he continued.
Bachan said if he knew this would be the outcome he would not have given the ministry permission.
Garage owner Aaron Williams shared the same view.
He said the ministry broke its promise to complete the project in a timely manner. He said no cars have been able to drive into the garage leaving him out of a job for months.
“Now is almost three months…I cannot function, “he said.
The Auto Air-Condition technician said he has a family to maintain and they have been struggling since works began. He said they catered for a small inconvenience but not months out of work.
“I am out of an income, I have three children, I have a wife, I have bills to pay is COVID time. Christmas now pass they ain’t even self drop a hamper or call or see how you doing or give an update,” Williams said.
He said family and odd jobs are keeping afloat at the moment and the only feedback he got from the ministry was that the matter was under investigation.
“I myself I confused, I don’t know if this is a murder investigation or what,” he said sarcastically.
Guardian Media spoke with the director of the Drain Division at the Ministry of Works and Transport Paula Webber who said they are still awaiting documentation from Bachan for boundaries of his property.
“What the engineer at the corporation informed me is that the shed is on a road reserve,” she said.
She said some residents from the area highlighted this issue and the Regional Corporation advised them that the shed cannot go back where it originally was, however, she is awaiting a report.
Webber said she sympathises with Bachan and his family and will have supervisors visit the scene.
Works on the river are set to be completed soon.