One year after the city’s Solid Waste Department removed five loads of sand from his neighbour’s drain, Kitty resident Joseph Ramsey is once again asking for help, prompting the intervention of the City Engineer.
In May 2015, Ramsey complained that his neighbour, who had construction work ongoing at his premises, had clogged the drain, resulting in his yard being flooded. This flooding had caused him serious inconvenience and affected his health, causing the development of a skin condition.
In response to the complaint, the city’s Solid Waste Director Walter Narine had conducted a massive clean-up and removed not only the sand, which the neighbor had dumped in the waterway, but a combined total of five loads of sand and silt.
Ramsey told Stabroek News that after that clean-up, the water, which had made it into his home, receded.
“After they move the sand, the water just woosh, disappear and I took out bottles of caustic soda and cleaned and cleaned. I was so happy that I could be able to walk freely,” he told Stabroek News.
However, his relief was short-lived and Ramsey found himself once again living in water as other neighbours undertook construction works to raise their yards above the level of the road, which has frequently flooded.
This situation was further compounded by the opening of two wash bays in the street; one of them, six houses from Ramsey, and the other, three houses from the first.
“The drain is completely clogged again and when they wash the cars, the water flows into my yard since it is lower than the silt in the drain,” he said, while explaining that he has appealed to his neighbours for help but to no avail.
“I wrote a simple letter and distributed it and then I walked around asking if everyone would just clean the area in front of them. The city is not coming regularly to clean but perhaps if we clear the drain and stack the silt on the sides of the road they would see it and move it. I asked and persons might say ‘ok’ but then on a Saturday or Sunday, when they said they would clean, nothing happens and they tell me, ‘well, I had to go out.’ It’s not really affecting them, so they are not motived to clear the drain,” Ramsey said.
After receiving Ramsey’s complaint Stabroek News contacted City Hall’s Public Relations Officer Debra Lewis, who, in the company of City Engineer Rasheed Kellman, visited Ramsey.
During the visit, Kellman observed that several of Ramsey’s neighbours had not only deposited sand into the drains but they had also erected concrete structures which were blocking the flow of the water. Also observed was the fact that the wash bays were not regularly clearing the silt that had accumulated in their drains from the vehicles they were washing.
“Look here. This entire drain is silt. When they wash the mud from the car tyres, it builds up,” Kellman explained as he used a piece of wood to check the depth of the drain. It was no deeper than four inches at each residence that was examined.
Though the proprietors of the businesses maintain that they regularly clear the drains, Kellman has given then verbal notice to desilt the area by Monday, and every other day after that. He has also promised to mobilise city resources to clear the drain at the intersection of Sandy Babb and Middleton Streets so that the runoff for the area would no longer be an issue.