December 7, 2022

Martinez urges Port of Spain city administration to fight flooding

A drain at the back of Port of Spain’s Central Market on Sunday. -JEFF K MAYERS

PORT OF SPAIN Mayor Joel Martinez calls on the municipality to urgently address flooding in the Abattoir Road area.

Commuters entering and leaving the capital last week were greatly hampered by flooding which caused heavy traffic.

Newsday visited Abattoir Road on Sunday and observed a blocked drain towards the back of the Port of Spain market where water stood still instead of flowing due to debris.

The canal ran from Abattoir Road on the east side of the market, below the market, and out of Abattoir Road on the west side of the market, flowing into the River St Ann.

There were signs that work had started to clear the drains, and a market cleaner said a crane had started clearing the drains that led under the parking lot, which flooded on Friday.

Vendors said there were fewer customers on Friday as many didn’t want to brave the floodwaters, and one vendor said his vehicle was soaked trying to enter the market.

Martinez said Sunday he spoke to the company’s CEO on Friday.

“She said the city engineer reported that the pump belonging to the Department of Public Works had run out of fuel, and according to him the pumps were refueled and the water was going down.

“When I got there I couldn’t tell if it wasn’t going down or not, but there was still a substantial amount of water, too much to be comfortable, and they couldn’t check, and those are his words, they couldn’t determine if the drain was clogged, and they needed the water to calm down to determine if the drain was clogged or not.

Martinez said he couldn’t believe that was the position taken.

“I told the CEO, so if the water never goes down, they’ll never check the drain? You’re engineers, you understand the city, you’re responsible for making sure there’s no flooding, and if it does happen, you can’t tell if it’s this or that.

“Department of Public Works engineers have already determined it was the line clogged and the pumps were working, it was only once that it ran out of fuel as it had been on for several days .

“I had a conversation with the Minister of Public Works and I am more inclined to believe that the drain is clogged and our municipality is responsible and needs to get there immediately.”

The company’s CEO and city engineer declined to comment on the matter.