GOVERNMENT has announced plans to tackle the flooding woes in the city and has established a ‘House Repair Programme’ to assist distressed persons.
Housing and Local Government Minister, Richard Frederick, has stated that mitigation measures will be forthcoming to address the perennial concerns about flooding within the city environs.
His comments come on the heels of last weekend’s tropical wave that resulted in unprecedented flooding in the City of Castries, from the L’Anse Road area, along Chaussee Road and into the city center.
The Minister and Member of Parliament for Central Castries, disclosed that audits are being undertaken to ensure that adequate and proper systems are in place to assist with the mitigation of flooding in the city.
“It really disturbed me, I toured the city on Saturday and the accumulation of garbage because of the flooding …the city will flood because we are below sea level, but we can mitigate against the quickness in the flooding if those pumps were operational,” Frederick told reporters, at the recent swearing in of newly installed Mayor of Castries, Geraldine Lendor-Gabriel.
Frederick, who served in the same capacity during the United Workers Party (UWP) administration from 2006 to 2011, recalled that under his stewardship two pumps were bought and placed next to La Place Carenage for the purpose of helping to mitigate the flooding situation.
The minister said he does not feel that the pumps are currently operational “to maximum capacity” and as a result, “once we ensure that those pumps are functional we can revisit the flooding situation and make a determination as to how we proceed.”
The ‘Distress Fund’ that was previously implemented to assist fire victims and other persons affected by natural disasters and other hazards has been the issue of much political controversy among opposing parliamentarians.
Referring to this issue, and bearing in mind that a few families were displaced during last weekend’s flooding in Castries, Frederick declared: “The government is moving steadfastly in the direction of seeking funds for a ‘House Repair Program’.”
He added that “in the not too distant future …the government will be assisting persons throughout the length and breadth of this country in relation to house repairs.”
While not able to provide definite status of the National Relief Find (NRF), at this time, Fredrick further disclosed that the NRF is under review. He said that the current administration “is extremely caring and sensitive to the needs of the citizens of this country.”
The Castries Central MP opines that government will put measures in place to assist those vulnerable persons in need.
Meanwhile, the new mayor pledges to assist with the overall developmental aspect within the city, and reiterated the need to help vulnerable groups and also young persons within the community.
“One of the most important things …is that young persons were able to take advantage of the educational opportunities to go to schools such as the RC Boys School, the Ave Maria School almost free of charge.
“And even to premiere institutions, as there are a lot of poor persons who are working and paying taxes to facilitate that,” Lendor-Gabriel declared.
The CCC also plans to place priority focus on taking care of the homeless and mentally ill persons within the community, and liaise with government departments and social agencies to address this issue.
“There are social agencies such as the Wellness Centre, Feed-the- Poor Ministry, St Lucy’s Home and Crisis Centre,” the mayor added. “These agencies are engaged in dealing with persons who are vulnerable…and we will engage with family members.”
She added that since mental illness and other issues are associated with drug addiction, the CCC would be keen on helping to get these persons off the streets and to seek treatment.
Lendor-Gabriel asserted: “It is our responsibility…as citizens to place ourselves into the shoes of those persons and do what we can to assist them.”