by Emmanuel Joseph
Residents living in some of the worse flood-prone communities across Barbados say they have been suffering for far too long from years of governmental neglect and are sick and tired of unfulfilled promises.
This was the view a Barbados TODAY team heard repeatedly in conversations with “victims” during a tour today of some of the districts known for major flooding in the City and the western and northern parts of the island.
Many of the householders expressed anger and told this paper, they have had enough of politicians coming around whenever there was flooding and promising to take action, only to repeat the same “old talk” time after time, while their situation remained unchanged.
Gills Terrace in St. Peter is an example of a district, which long-time resident, Alvin Robinson, described as one of the worse flood prone communities in the parish.
Robinson, who has been living there since the 1960s and operates a video rental store from his home, revealed that Gills Terrace started experiencing “very serious” flooding as far back as the 1970s when the Speightstown By-Pass Road was built.
“The engineers told the then Government that it was the construction of the road that was causing the flooding. You see, the drainage under the road is not adequate to drain off the water, so when a heavy volume of water gets in there, it just swirls and swirls and comes back into the district,” Robinson said.
He claimed that for the past 40 years or so, various ministers of Government had been promising to rectify the problem, but had done nothing tangible.
“Last year we had two floods in this community. One in April and the other in August. The one in April was the worst, because the flood water covered the fence, flooded out people’s homes and swept a car I had parked alongside my house 70 feet away on to my neighbour’s property,” recalled Robinson.
He noted that about 13 houses in Gills Terrace were severely affected, whenever there was flooding.
“Water goes into all the houses, especially those which are low to the ground. My house is one of the highest in the area and when you see water come up to my varandah as it did last year, you know the other low-level homes in trouble,” added the St. Peter resident.
While at the scene, this newspaper was reminded of several homes in Gills Terrace, where recent flood waters damaged household furniture and other valuable items and forced at least one frustrated owner to abandon his property and leave the district.
Businesses and residents in Holetown and Sunset Crest also continue to experience the age-old problems with flooding.
They, too, are crying out for relief.
However, residents of at least one small community, Jamestown Park, St. James, are reporting some good news. They revealed that since the owners of the nearby Limegrove Lifestyle Centre built a canal to prevent flooding, they did not have the problem.
Meanwhile, the water course that runs through Round-The-Town, St. Peter is in dire need of clearing.
“We get a little flooding, but most of the water passes through and goes into Gills Terrace,” said double amputee Oliston Turton, who has been living in Round-The-Town for the past 12 years.
In the Emmerton, Chapman Lane, New Orleans areas of the City, the decades-old headache of families having to battle large volumes of water, mosquitoes and being marooned in their homes when it rained, have become like a curse.
Like at Gills Terrace in St. Peter, home owners living around Murphy Pasture, for instance, are so upset at the lack of action by governments, that they want nothing more to do with politicians — whether “B’ or “D”.
“All them does do is come round hey all de time and tek pictures and don’t do nothing bout we situation. Every time the rain falls, yuh can’t even get in or out yuh house.