Nothing done about flooding in parts of St James, complains Symmonds

Government’s slipshod approach to the issue of drainage in communities across St James and wider Barbados is in need of an urgent fix, Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds told Parliament this morning.

Heaping scorn on Government’s resolution to abandon its compulsory acquisition of lands at Weston, St James under the Land Acqusition Act, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member issued a stern rebuke to Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley who tabled the measure at the start of today’s sitting.

Dismissing Lashley’s presentation as a mere “tutorial in land acquisition”, Symmonds said it was disgraceful that while Government vaguely revealed that it would give up the lands because of flooding concerns, nothing had been done to correct the persistent problem which affects Weston and other flood prone communities in St James.

“When [calypsonian] Carew went on his housetop in Weston and washed out to sea and drowned, all in Barbados learnt that the area was a flood plain and as a matter of urgency you needed to put drainage mitigation in place . . . [However], no steps have been taken to deal with the issue,” the BLP representative complained.

“It is all well and good to say that a policy of land acquisition at Weston is being withdrawn for the purposes that there was flooding . . . but after you have abandoned the acquisition because of drainage then what?” he asked.

Symmonds said Government’s lack of action was even more glaring with two of the island’s first responders – the Fire Station in Weston and the nearby Holetown Police Station  – still forced to operate in flood prone areas.

“It doesn’t end there – if you go across the country and come into St Michael, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is also on a flood plain, so these are some of the serious development issues that we have to deal with in Barbados,” he said.

Symmonds told the House that as a recently as last night in his St James Central constituency, flooding prevented residents in Bagatelle from getting into their homes after a culvert in the area collapsed and broke.

“People who live in the district . . . had to park their cars alongside the road and walk in last night, when this was drawn to the attention of the Minister [of Environment and Drainage] by way of a residents’ petition in 2016 March.

“So that a year and half has passed, no repairs have been done and the inevitable has come to pass that the drains collapsed and break in.”

The St James Central spokesman lamented that the entire parish encountered difficulties associated with drainage and, as a consequence, flooding.

And while conceding that the drainage unit was under pressure, Symmonds insisted that the authorities could not afford to have a piecemeal approach to St James, which was referred to as the island’s “gold coast”.

Symmonds called on Parliament to ensure that every effort was made to ensure that Barbados was disaster-ready, while citing the recent devastation of neighbouring Caribbean islands by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Acknowledging that the island was not in a position to address its drainage issues on its own, he suggested that authorities should seek outside funding.

“The country as part of its development mission must look to secure adequate financing from relevant institutions so as to overcome these drainage challenges.”

The Opposition spokesman also made a case for Government to develop a building code and urged authorities to bring insurance companies to the table to ensure that working class Barbadians could afford insurance.

Symmonds however raised concern that too many Barbadians were still in the dark about the much talked about national disaster management plan.

“You know Sir, that nobody has consulted with anybody in any part of my constituency about what their role is in that plan . . . . You have to share what it is that [Barbadians] are called upon to do in the event that there is a major disaster in Barbados,” he said.

7 Responses to Nothing done about flooding in parts of St James, complains Symmonds

  1. andy g October 4, 2017 at 6:59 am

    KERRY,how long was st.James having a flooding problem? I guess you’ll say about eight years now. As far as I concern,politicians has no credibility

  2. Patrick October 4, 2017 at 8:06 am

    He would say That, I am surprised that I am not hearing the eternal critic by the name of Hinkson, who is always complaining

  3. Greengiant October 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

    The B L P did absolutely nothing during their fourteen years about that problem, so he is unworthy, and totally disqualified to speak about flooding in St. James. Out of order Kerry.

    Down with both parties having the majority they have enjoyed and done the disservice they have done to the people of this country.

  4. Belfast October 4, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Barbados is fast becoming a society where you pay all sort of taxes, have various insurance policies, charged heavily for bank services, have a Fair Trading Commission, and an Ombudsman in operation, and when a problem arises, you have no one or nowhere to turn.

  5. Tony Waterman October 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    When i was a youngster (many Moons ago) my Late Dad was the Station.Sgt. at Holetown Police Station, and i used to spend my Summer vacations at the Station, in thgose days there was NO Flooding, because as i have said previously, there was a Tunnel Constructed, that lead the Waters towards the Sea, and there was a Backhoe (One of the few in those days) that came occasionally, and made a Trench in the Sand towards the Sea so ALL the Water that came down towards the Coast Road from Upper St.James went through that Tunnel to the Sea, hence NO Flooding, i have been told not too long ago that the Tunnel i speak of has been Found, but is pluigged, and had therefore been ruled as useless, hence Hole town still floods as there is nowhere else for the Waters to Go.
    Hopefully, someone can get that tunnel cleaned out or build another one and let the flood waters run to the Sea again, the problem would be solved.

    Just food for thought from am OLD Fellow who remembers how it used to be, before University Degrees took ove, and Common Sense was Lost.

  6. Brian R Mooney October 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Sir, your last two lines says it all. As a frequent visitor to your beautiful island, as another OLD FELLOW you some up the World today.

  7. Greengiant October 10, 2017 at 12:32 am

    @ Tony Waterman; There was never such a thing as common sense. Education has taught me that anything common is shared commonly. Therefore common sense would be shared likewise.

    It’s either sense or nonsense, so actually that which for so long you and other elders thought was common sense was actually the nonsense with which you lot were brainwashed. We as a people has never managed our destiny, politically, socially or economically.

    We have the majority of workers, voters, families, businesses too (small or large). We have population control, you know though, your common sense generation could never use those advantages. You let the minority divide and control you, now we with the education have an uphill battle to get control of our islands’ future.

    Reason, “the curators with all the common sense prepared a wicket to suit our opponents”. Could not win a game against them, but now want to tell us how to bat, when you lot could not even hold the bat properly. Show me your stats as a player before you attempt to coach me please.

    These are the days for the educated in the world, not just Barbados. This is a global trend, that’s why there’s so much invested in education world wide. The age of common nonsense (sorry common sense) has died long ago, so just bury it please.


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