Trinidad and Tobago
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Petit Bourg woman pleads for retaining wall after 2nd landslip

Narissa Fraser Photo courtesy Marva Smith.
Photo courtesy Marva Smith.

PETIT Bourg resident Marva Smith first experienced a landslide at her home over two decades ago. After years of promises, she said, and even a visit by officials as recently as last year, nothing has been done. And with the recent bad weather causing another landslip nearby, she is concerned for her safety.

Smith, who lives at Akal Road in Petit Bourg, San Juan, told Newsday the second landslide happened at the side of her house on Sunday while the country was under an orange-level adverse weather alert.

Her home is higher up than others, and is at risk of collapsing and taking other houses down with it down a steep slope.

She said she has asked for a retaining wall many times, even highlighting that it will not only benefit her but other nearby residents.

"I even got a petition that had over 100 signatures to take to the MP's (St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh's) office to let them understand how many people this thing will help.

Photo courtesy Marva Smith.

"It's no longer a matter of if my house would collapse without the wall – it will. The living-room wall is gone, part of the foundation is gone and another part of the foundation is split in two."

She said her house is being threatened as landslips will continue there unless the wall is built.

She said representatives from the Ministry of Works and Transport "came, they saw and checked and said they will do a wall because it is an emergency – but I have been waiting for 22 years."

She said she also contacted the National Commission for Self Help, which said while it could cover the cost of the materials for the wall, it would be up to members of the community to build the wall for free.

Photo courtesy Marva Smith.

"If you were to pay workers to build that, it would go straight up to about 75,000," Smith said.

The recently-affected area is along a main pathway that residents of the area use to move around.

"This cannot keep happening," Smith said.

Newsday tried to contact Deyalsingh, but up to press time, there was no response.