Claxton Bay landslip damages more houses

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Homeowner Kamla Harripersad looks at the landslip which has claimed the back portion of her house at Diamond Road, Claxton Bay. – Lincoln Holder

The major landslip at Claxton Bay which destroyed a family’s home last month continues to wreak havoc at Diamond Road.

The latest victims are Kamla Harripersad, her husband Anstey, and their two children, 18 and 25, who live in a two-storey, four-bedroom concrete house.

On Thursday morning, the back wall and part of their property collapsed, and the residents believe the rapid land movements directly result from nearby quarrying.

The affected area is outside the boundary of the Coco Road quarry, which is owned by the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD).

Harripersad said on Friday as she looked at the damage, “It is only a matter of time (before) the entire property crumbles. The land keeps moving. I am so stressed right now.

“We know they would not stop quarrying.

“We want temporary housing for free until this matter is resolved. No one can sleep properly, and we need a three-bedroom house, nothing smaller.”

The Harripersad family and four other nearby families’ homes are on the brink of collapse.

The ordeal began on September 15 when a nearby family’s home collapsed and slid down a hill – along with everything inside it. The owners, Giles Garcia, 62, his wife Anastasia Morris-Garcia, and her two adult children, 30 and 31, became homeless within hours.

On September 19, Social Development and Family Services Minister Donna Cox met with the affected residents. She offered in the interim counselling and psychosocial support and rental assistance grants for three months. She said the grant was a temporary measure, which is reviewed periodically and can be accessed for up to one year.

Affected residents rejected the offer, saying it was not enough.

Nardera Ramsaran-Williams, her husband, and their two children cleared out their home and have been sleeping in cars on the property.

“We are homeless right now. The number of items I have in my house, it isn’t easy to get a place to move in. I also have animals, and I am not giving up,” Ramsaran-Williams said.

She alleged that quarrying resumed on October 11.

Newsday did not see any active quarrying on Friday when a team visited.

Another affected resident, Marva Fritz, said her home could fall at any time. The pensioner also cleared out her home and has been staying with her sister nearby.

“I need a house. We can feel the land moving. Cracks are getting bigger. At any moment, my house could fall.

“People in authority came, made promises, and that was it,” Fritz said.

The Garcia family is staying in the same house as Fritz and other relatives.