MP defends work being done on road to Matelot

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Matelot villagers protest over the condition of the Paria Main Road leading to their homes on Tuesday. –

PRESIDENT of the St Helena Village Council, Matelot, John Lewis claims the Ministry of Works and Transport is not doing enough to clear a landslide along the Paria Main Road, which, he says, is preventing children from getting to school.

Matelot villagers, on Tuesday, held a protest near one of the major landslides to highlight the situation.

In a telephone interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Lewis said the landslip had prevented children from attending school since it reopened last Monday.

He claimed a lack of supervision was causing shoddy work to be done on the road’s restoration. He said, since the community was cut off from the rest of the country on June 29 with floods, landslides and overflowing rivers, there have been repeated landslides blocking the path in and out of the Matelot community.

He said the road to Matelot was like a “time bomb.”

He said repairs were done on the Paria Main Road between San Souci and Matelot under the People’s Partnership administration but, since PNM came into power, the road has been deteriorating thanks to lack of upkeep.

In response, MP for the area Roger Monroe told Newsday all landslides along the Paria Main Road had been cleared and were continuously being cleared.

He said engineers were unable to give the green light for an excavator to properly remove the loose dirt because increased rains had made the area unsafe. As a result, work to properly clear the road and prevent further landslides had been delayed.

Monroe said he contacted the Ministry of Works and Transport area supervisor as recently as two Sundays ago, the day before school reopened, to ensure that the roads were cleared and kept clear.

He said, at the time of speaking with Newsday, one lane of the road was, in fact, cleared.

Monroe emphasised that it was not a matter of neglect, rather the engineers were waiting for rains to stop to safely clear the loose dirt.

Lewis, however, also claimed that the Paria Main Road in that area had become destabilised and was being undermined by the sea.

In response to that concern, Monroe said work to stabilise the road was ongoing but had been hampered by a lack of funding. He said boulders had been imported from Guyana and placed along the seashore to prevent the sea from reclaiming parts of the road.

Monroe said he was confused as to why anyone would assume that nothing was being done, adding that some may have ulterior motives for raising issues that were already being addressed.

He said the blockage of the road by landslides was used by teachers as a reason to stay away from school last Monday, however, as far as he was aware, children were able access school, albeit some a bit later as the road may be reduced to a single lane.