By Dacia Whaul
Albouystown and Charlestown remained swamped by floodwater yesterday and fed up residents accused the City Council of neglect while calling for something to be done to address the problem.
In James, Hogg and Hill streets, Albouystown yesterday, residents complained in droves about the floodwater and the lingering stench. Some had tried blocking the intersection at Hill and James streets to protest the neglect of the area but where forced by police to discontinue. Even before Wednesday’s flash flooding, residents had been contending with flooding for about a month due to high tides and the damaged Sussex Street koker.
“All I have to say is that they need to clean this place, we need this nonsense to stop…,”stated Rafeek Khan, of the western half of James Street. “…City Council ain’t doing nothing, the place need to clean…,” he added.
Alexander Gomes, who told Stabroek News that he has been living in James Street his whole life, questioned the way the taxpayers’ money is being spent. Gomes opined that Albouystown was a forsaken place. “What going on with taxpayers’ money? And they saying they want this country to be a tourist country? What the Mayor really going on with? …We living like dogs here in Albouystown and the government ain’t doing nothing about it,” he said.
Gomes said everything in his house got wet. “Even the boards getting weak because of the flood waters… the whole place stink up man. We need the government to do something about this situation here,” he said.
Amanda Thomas said she woke up at about 7:30am on Wednesday to find water all around her. “…All my mattress wet up that was on the ground. My freezer, gas stove everything wet up… and I think that they need to stop putting up a set of big buildings, because the city sinking,” she said. “…With how this rain falling, the place flooding, they need to clean this place… this thing making people children sick and I can’t deal with that. …Look, is ten salt bags I use and still the flooding,” she added.
Thomas directed her rage at Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green and the acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba, who she claimed “passed through” the area yesterday. “The mayor passed through here yesterday and ain’t even come out to talk to nobody, all he do is drive through… and the Town Clerk Sooba come through here too, but all she do is duck she head down in the car when she passed through… they should’ve come out in they long boots and ask what going on and so,” she said, while adding that the most she could have done was run out and scrape up sand. “Me ain’t able with this anymore,” Thomas declared.
Linda King of Hogg Street said her mother called her at about 7:05am to tell her to check up on the house. “When I checked the whole house was full of water… we had to bail up water and pack up sand bags… and that ain’t mek no sense we still flood out…,” King said. “… Just my chairs and clothes that was in a suitcase damage… I woke in time to save my fridge,” she continued, while lamenting the lingering stench from the receding water.
“All me chair, vinyl, everything get wet… we got to walk through the water. We children all ain’t getting to go to school,” added another resident, Alexis, who also mentioned the sloppy cleaning of drains in Albouystown, and in particular the alley at James Street. “When they, (the City Council) clean, they leaving garbage there and it could cost your children to get sick…,” she said.
James Street resident Vanessa Williams told this newspaper that there was no major damage to her house and only some clothes got soaked. “About 8am my neighbour call me to tell me about the flood and we pick up stuff and I put them on the bed…,” she explained.
However, Williams reiterated that the area is normally flooded when it rains. And up to about a month ago the high tide had been the source of flooding in the area. She blasted the City Council for doing sloppy cleaning, whenever they visit the area. She also expressed her disgust at the stench lingering.
In Howes and Lying streets, Charlestown the floodwater was still receding yesterday and residents were assessing the damage incurred.
“My carpet, chairs, music set, among other things, were caught in the flood… I barely saved my father’s ashes and my fridge… I had to move my gas stove… and you see these drains don’t clean. In 30 years I living here—that is since I born—and I never see anybody coming to clean these drains in Charlestown,” Marvis Hiliman, of Lyng Street, told this newspaper. The visibly angry man drew attention to a drain that he is to be completed.
“…And we need those in authority to do something… we need somebody with a vision… Charlestown is one of the oldest (wards) in the city and they ain’t doing nothing here,” Hiliman added, as he aired his concern about the flooding in the ward.
Marcia Craig’s fridge was damaged as a result of the flood as was her wardrobe and she voiced her disappointment over the drainage problems in the area. “When I woke up the water was up to in my house, up to the bottom of my chair about three feet… I had to rip up my vinyl… a mattress get soaked as well… I don’t know what to say, we need proper drainage in Guyana, because, is not only the rain causing this flood… everything just stagnant,” Craig said.
“Over here was a river. Neighbours had to come out in long boots… the water was even going in the long boots… look, rain barely fall today about an hour ago ( approximately 11am yesterday) and the place already flood up,” added Christine Peters, a resident of Howes Street. She also said that the sewage was “stinking” and pointed out a bubbling man hole. “…They (City Council) come and clean, but that ain’t helping because they don’t do it regularly… the water was as high as the rain boots,” Peters added.
Marilyn Roseman said she had clothes on the ground and checks made revealed that they were soaked from the floodwater. The woman, however, said that she didn’t incur much inconvenience, but she did point out, that her DVD player was damaged and sighed with relief that her fridge was on a pallet and therefore missed the flood.
In Tiger Bay, residents complained bitterly about the floodwaters. One woman, sitting with her two-year-old son, said that when she woke up on Wednesday morning and looked outside her window, the streets and drains were covered with water. “It was about five o’clock and when I peep through the window, I see the fridge and them old boards floating in the water…the place is a stink mess,” Sharon Hinds said.
She added that later that day, her son was playing by the door when he fell into the floodwater. Her house is elevated on four concrete blocks. She noted that by about 9pm on Wednesday the water had begun to recede.
Another man said that he was stunned when he woke up and saw his house surrounded by water. “All in we shop was full of water…all we mattress and food stuff damage,” Stanley Archer said. “All them people doing is locking we up but thing that they should look into they ain’t care about. They ain’t even coming to see what happen here with we,” he added.
When Stabroek News visited that area yesterday, the community was back to normal.