Shastri Boodan

Residents of Freeport claim they are being discriminated against with their water supply and are demanding a meeting with Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales and officials of WASA within seven days to address the problem.

The residents issued an ultimatum that they would use other means to highlight the situation if their request is ignored.

At a town meeting with Caroni Central MP Arnold Ram at the Three Roads Hindu Temple on Tuesday, the residents complained that WASA is pumping raw water from the area for treatment and distribution to other communities while they have to depend on rain for a supply.

The area has been without a regular water supply for the last two weeks. The hardest areas include Chickland, Preysal, Sewdass Road and parts of Gran Couva.

Ram said the villagers will submit a petition through his office to the authorities seeking the meeting.

Lutchman Balgobin, a resident of Sewdass Road, said the last time he had a pipe bone supply of water was last Saturday for three minutes. He said when he contacted WASA he was told only five out of eight wells are operational and WASA is not getting funding to fix the damaged equipment.

Soomdeo Mahabir, 75, said the supply has always been erratic for more than 50 years but when there is a supply for a few hours that allows him to collect two 400- gallon tanks of water that would last him for six days.

“We pay rates like everybody. I hear the Minister of Finance says he pays $75 a month and I pay $75 a month and I am sure he is getting a 24 hour supply,” he said.

Lawrence Ramnarine, of Preysal, said villagers are using styrofoam plates and soharie leaves to eat on since there isn’t enough water to wash dishes.

“We have reached a breaking point . . . we are hoping good sense prevail,” he said.