An event yesterday to officially open foot path bridges in Alexander Village saw a public outcry from residents in the area for government and City Hall to address an over 25-year-old flooding issue there.
“It doesn’t matter if the rain fall, First and Second streets are always under water. We are always flooded till I rename the street flood street. We don’t have any drainage in here. At the back the main drain you can walk over to Yarrow Dam. I am begging you please address this situation,” Navin (only name given), a resident lamented as he dropped to his knees begging for help.
His pleas were echoed by every other resident who used the question or comment section of the ceremony to make vocal their concerns about the flooding in the first half of the community.
The frustrated residents aired their plight to Minister of State Joseph Harmon who was present to commission the bridges.
Yesterday, residents said, was not the first time they were pleading for assistance from government and city officials as they made the same pleas under the previous administration.
Waterlogged yards, clogged alleys and poor drainage in the community have resulted in residents suffering from structural and foundation damage with recurring expenses.
Sean Yassin, another resident who was vocal said that because of water lodging in the alley, the concrete surface of his yard has suffered extreme damage.
“The water seeped under the concrete and now it’s broken up. We have been flooding for years and no relief has been given to us. Last year I flood six times. One time I went overseas and when I return the whole yard flood and water in the house. It is has been about 30 years like this and we need the situation fixed now,” Yassin complained.
Another resident pointed out that because of the blocked up drains in the community they are suffering. He stated that yards have been under water since last year and affected residents would have to constantly be wearing long boots to get in and out.
“Sometimes we go out and we don’t know what we are returning too. Rain don’t have to fall for long and this street is flood. The tides could be high and we are flooded, sun shining and we are still flooded. It is unfair to us,” a frustrated resident explained.
Residents pointed out that squatters on Yarrow Dam in La Penitence also contributed to their suffering since they have occupied the dam where the excavator would have operated in the past to clear the canal. They also accused the squatters on the dam of defecating in plastic bags and throwing it into the main drainage canal.
It was also stated by the residents they would have to place sandbags at their doors to prevent water from entering their homes.
Following the ceremony, residents took Stabroek News to the canal which was observed to be filled with overgrown weeds. Residents stated that the canal in the past used to be 30 feet wide and 40 feet deep to enable adequate drainage of their village and neighbouring communities.
“We use to stand here and watch out and could have seen over at Riverview but now when you watch is grass right through. At some parts you can walk over to Yarrow Dam…,” Navin pointed out.
Responding to the concerns of the residents, Harmon said that he would only be able to intervene when he has a recommendation from engineers. As such he organised a team of officials from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Mayor and City Council to meet with the residents today at 10.30 am.
He said only when he has a report on the recommendations would he be able to act accordingly. He promised to bring some relief to residents.