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Henry Awong says the Corporation cannot continue for much longer with such a senior position on the Council remaining vacant

Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong believes special focus needs to be placed on flooding in Gasparillo- especially by the Ministry of Works’ Drainage Division.

Speaking on CNC3’s Morning Brew programme about the impact on his region following Monday’s flooding in south Trinidad, Awong noted that the town is at the mercy of the nearby Guaracaura river.

“It’s (flooding) is a reoccurring thing in the Gasparillo area and we need to do something about that area in particular. Anytime the Guaracara river bursts its bank Gasparillo floods out,” he said.

Awong said Gasparillo was one of the worst affected areas of Monday’s flooding episode and that reports reaching him indicated that some 50 households were affected by it.

In what appeared to be a denouncing of the common-held myth that Southern Trinidad is mainly rural, countryside communities, Awong said: “Gasparillo is a town. Gasparillo is a developed area with…a mall and quick shoppes and all the KFCs…it’s not a lil’ countryside area.”

“So we need to pay some attention in particular of that area and all the other areas too that experience flooding,” he said.

He said “serious engineering issues” need to be explored for the area to prevent further occurrences of the event which now plagues residents.

“It had one point in time last night…the water was not moving from Gasparillo. So possibly we could have had high tide yesterday too which was contributing towards the flooding (in) that whole Gasparillo and Forest Park area and stuff. The river’s capacity to hold the water is in question. I think we need to look at some serious engineering issues in that area. (We) probably need to build some retention ponds so the water would gradually trickle out into the sea,” he said.

He said the Ministry of Works’ Drainage Division also has a significant role to play in the matter.

“If at the local (government) level we are able to clean some of the tributaries and right now we…are in the process of doing that with the one excavator that we have. But if the major watercourses, which is the Guaracara river, is not well dredged and cleaned and so then cleaning the minor tributaries and so on is not making much sense,” he said.

Awong noted that the Regional Corporation was also “Starved for resources, we are starved for funding where we cannot even hire equipment for us to respond and for us to mitigate.”

Heavy showers on Monday caused flooding across several parts of Southern Trinidad such as Claxton Bay, Macaulay, Barrackpore, Debe, Penal and many others.