May Pen's poor drainage system takes centrestage
At the monthly sitting of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation last Thursday, the capital's poor drainage system and the hazard it presents was placed under the microscope.
Councillor Scean Barnswell, in referring to the October 1 flood rains which resulted in the death of a six-year-old, as well as the many students who were left stranded and businesses that were affected, called for urgent attention to be given to the poor drainage situation in the town.
"While we can't control Mother Nature, we can surly control the way we live, and I believe what happened on October 1 is a man-made creation," he said. Barnswell, who was among a party that toured the area the day after the more than three hours of rainfall which resulted in the flooding, said it was clear to him that poor design on the construction of drains, the raising of roads in some areas, the blockage of drains and the non cleaning of critical drains in other areas, resulted in the flooding. He told the council that the drains had outlived their usefulness.
"We have drains competing with each other to get the water to an outlet. We still have areas where men are not able to clean that need equipment," he said.
Barnswell said incidents of flooding are happening too frequently and the time has come for the Municipal Corporation and the National Work Agency (NWA) to work together to address the drainage system.
Calling for a master drainage plan, Barnswell also rubbished the claim that the road improvement that was carried out from Sour Sop Turn to Chapelton had contributed to the town being flooded out.
"What I do know is that the system that allows all that water that is channelled to the Howard Avenue, Glenmuir Road, Manchester Avenue intersection needs to change." He called for a proper look at the whole design of the drainage in May Pen. He also called on the council not to be afraid to serve notices on those who contribute to blocking the drains.
In responding to Barnswell's impassioned plea, mayor of May Pen Winston Maragh said he will be asking the engineering department to traverse all the drains that come under the corporation's responsibility, as well as the parish manager of the NWA to secure a copy of the drainage plan they put together some time ago for May Pen.
"As soon as we get that in hand, we will have that meeting with all the stakeholders and we will look at what we will need to do and how we are going to fund all of this," he said, adding that he will not be sitting down on the issue.