Forty-three trucks used to supply water, clean cesspools, transport material and service the 40,000 plus burgesses at the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation are parked up because they cannot pass inspection.
Chairman Glen Ram says the vehicles are not road worthy and the corporation does not have the funds to repair and maintain them.
He called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to intervene and ensure that funds are released to the corporation.
He said, “In this time in the region of Mayaro/Rio Claro all our trucks are down. So in the region, people are clamouring, they are crying.
They are resorting to going into the rivers for water.
Those areas which do not have a pipe-borne supply depend on the regional corporation to supply water with our trucks from the corporation.”
While the country has been told to brace of a harsh dry season, he said the corporation’s three water trucks are down.
Thirteen areas depend on a truck-borne supply of water. The corporation also has no funds to award contracts for additional water trucks to service the burgesses.
Cesspool emptiers are also parked up, he said.
“We have a backlog at this time because we are unable to clean cesspits.
Also, a number of schools need their cesspits cleaned, we normally assist but we are unable to do so. They might even have to close,” Ram said.
In addition, he said, the corporation cannot transport material to repair roads because the dump trucks are also down. Even though the trucks needed repairs, Ram said, they were using it.
However, they could no longer chance it because of the hefty penalty for non-inspected vehicles.
As a result, drivers have been redeployed to cut grass and clean drains. Ram said he spoke to Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein about the situation and forwarded him the documents, but there has been no help.
“So what the people in this region are telling me at this time is that they are going to resort to heading to streets and protesting because they are fed up.
There is only so much the regional corporation could do.
Every single councillor is being bombarded with calls in terms of people calling for water, to have their cesspit cleaned and we are unable to provide a service which we are entitled to do so.
So I am calling on the Prime Minister of this country to release funds to the regional corporation which was passed in the 2018/2019 budget.
We want the money which was so assigned to our corporation so that we could get the work done for the people in the region,” the chairman said.
He complained that the corporation’s budget allocation for the supply of truck-borne water was slashed from $1 million to $400,000.
He said, “So the people in Mayaro/Rio Claro is in a bad predicament and the Government is failing the people,” he lamented.
When contacted, Hosein said he was aware of the situation.
He said, “We are in a challenge so we continue to liaise with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that releases are made available to the corporation.”
The minister could not say when the funds will be released.
Reporter: Sascha Wilson