Hilton Sandy at Media Briefing

THA Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities clean-up crews were seen busily clearing debris and landslides in several areas of North and East Tobago after two days of heavy rains and wind earlier last week.

Secretary of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Hilton Sandy described the crews as “fast on the draw” when clearing roads in Bad Rock, Belle Garden and the Castara Main Road. The crews also worked on clearing the Bloody Bay and L’Anse Fourmi/Charlotteville roads.

Sandy said workers had reported after their investigations the source of heavy landslides on the Castara Main Road on the north side of the island was a ravine in the Rain Forest. He promised that as soon as the 2012 dry season starts work to correct the problem will begin.

The Division’s crews were also part of relief efforts to citizens in Les Coteaux and Belle Garden whose houses were affected by land slippages. Sandy said in one instance the landslide took place three to four feet close to the structure. He reported that crews had commenced work on retaining structures and were assisting families in putting posts to secure their homes.

He felt that guttering on houses and proper placing of cesspools could reduce the problems some homeowners face whenever there was bad weather. Appealing to Tobagonians he said: “Not having guttering over time will create problems to your house. Look to see where you are putting in your soak way because if your soak away is downhill, after a while if it is not put in properly, you can have slippages on the hillside.”

In the meanwhile rehabilitation works in Windward and North Tobago will continue as scheduled despite rumours to the contrary. Sandy told reporters at the post-Executive Council media-briefing on Wednesday (7th December, 2011) that information circulating in the public that the programme would be discontinued after the Christmas holidays is simply not true.

He said: “The special rehabilitation programme will continue. What is happening is that we would have put in additional technical crew to assist the programme and to drive it a little faster because we hadn’t sufficient technical personnel in the programme.” He added: “The retaining structure that we have to do now, we have to have technical people to ensure that we do good work and we get value for the money spent on retaining structures.”

The programme began in September after the Executive Council had approved $76 million for an intensified infrastructural rehabilitation exercise across the island.

The Development Programme, Sandy said, will be closed from December 22 2011 to January 3 2012. He emphasised that all workers who were in the programme at the close were expected to report for duty when it restarts. He said no new workers would be selected at that point in time.

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