Legal action against the Government on flooding issues is the next option for villagers of Bamboo Number 2.
It comes hours after a confrontation between the villagers and Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan and Minister of Rural Development Faris Al-Rawi on Tuesday..
The affected residents said they have been facing flooding issues for the last five days, with water levels recorded in some areas as high as 12 feet.
They have retained attorney Richard Jagessar to pursue the Government for compensation and losses.
“I would like to point out for the benefit of the villagers that this is not the time to cast blame. That is not why we are here. We are here to fix the problem. As you can see, this is a serious problem. There are people beyond this point. This new river that has developed there are people beyond here that cannot access medication, food, drinking water, and so on,” attorney Richard Jagessar said.
He added, “Those villagers that we cannot see and hear from they are pensioners, they are the elderly, they are pregnant, they are the children that cannot go to school. Those are the people that I wish to represent. Those are the people that have a claim against the minister. The minister has a claim against the man who allegedly encroached on the embankment which is his prerogative. He has a deal with his engineers, and his supervisors about why that went on for two years if at all it went on, but these villagers are hungry, starving for five days.
Jagessar added, “The villagers would like the minister and his team of engineers, the Ministry of Local Government, PURE, and so on. We call for a meeting with them a face-to-face meeting with them and let us show you where the problem is.”
Despite the threat of legal action it still did not change the villagers’ situation as many are still seeing almost five feet of water in their homes and boats are the mode of transportation for supplies for who cannot leave.
Community activist and businessman Inshan Ishmael told Guardian Media, “The minister promised yesterday has not been delivered. Residents have now put their lives at risk to go and open up one of the gates and dive underwater with no equipment in sewage water. So we are doing what the ministry should have done.”
The villagers were successful to open the sluice gates.
Ishmael said, “ I stand proud here today that I run him out of Bamboo and I’ll run him out again, so here’s what, we had enough and this is the way we are going now, legal, whether they like it or not because, at the end of the day, these residents can’t have a repeat of this.”
Despite the challenges facing the villagers, general manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) Kelvin Ramsook was on hand in Bamboo Number 2 to attempt to restore power.
“What we did, which was very important we drove the circuit on either side and notify the customers who were there to make sure the switch of the breakers on the downstairs section of their house because once we restore service, we want to make sure that people are safe in the building”, Ramsook said.