Orange Grove farmers plead for repair to sluice gate

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally examines one of two fault flood falps at the Orange Grove Photo by ANGELO MARCELLE – ANGELO MARCELLE

FARMERS at the Orange Grove Estate in Trincity are pleading with Government to immediately repair a damaged sluice gate which is allowing a back flow from the Caroni River into their lands. They said three breaches in the river bank are also letting water into their lands.

Speaking to Newsday on Sunday, farmer Raju Ramjit said if rain fell on Monday, the area would again be flooded.

“We are asking for the badly-damaged sluice gate to be repaired and also for a pump to be installed so water could be removed when the river is high.

“The gate is letting water in rather than letting it out. Right next to the gate, the bank has three breaches that are letting water in. This is a constant problem. We need a permanent solution. We had a breach of the banks in October and then last Saturday, the flood gate developed a crack.

“Even the farmers didn’t know it was so bad because when the road is flooded you can’t access the floodgates.”

Ramjit said as far as he knows, no one in authority has met with farmers.

“All we are being told is that engineering is aware of the issue. We need some resolution now.”

On Sunday, Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally toured the area with farmers. He said there were at least 23 farmers affected.

“If the sluice gate is properly functioning all the water coming from Dinsley and Trincity would flow out into the Caroni River. If not, when the Caroni River is high, the water from the river is also seeping into the Orange Grove farmland. When this happens, in some areas, there is water four to five feet high covering their crops. There’s a combination of things that has to be addressed.”

He said the cost to farmers to restart production after being flooded out was high.

“Nothing is surviving this height of water and the periods for which they are being flooded out.” He said the most recent flooding left farmlands covered in water for almost a week.

Rambally said the area needed flood flats and sluice gates and for the river embankment to be repaired.