Following devastating floods over the last two days in multiple communities in Trinidad, which adversely and severely affected business, homes, schools and the traveling public, MP Davendranath Tancoo wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives seeking to raise the issue of flooding as an URGENT matter for debate in the Parliament.
The Motion read:
“In accordance with Standing Order 17 (1) of the House of Representatives, I hereby seek leave to move the adjournment of the House for the express purpose of discussing a Definite Matter of Urgent Public importance, namely:
The urgent need for Government to take immediate action to provide relief and assistance to communities which have been severely affected by floods in the past 48 hours to preserve the lives, health, wellbeing and property of tens of thousands of citizens.
The matter is definite as in the past 48 hours’ tens of thousands of citizens from communities throughout North-East, Central and South Trinidad have been marooned in their homes by significant levels of flooding which has been reported to be as high as six feet in some places.
The Matter is urgent as tens of thousands of citizens have been placed in life threatening situations as their homes, vehicles, food supplies and access to proper drinking water have all been submerged by floods which pose further threats to their health given the possible spread of diseases.
The Matter is Urgent as thousands of medically vulnerable citizens have been severely compromised and placed in grave danger by these floods as their medication and medical care equipment have all been submerged while access to emergency care has been virtually cut off.
The Matter is of Public Importance as failure by the state to mobilize equipment and manpower to offer effective assistance to these communities as well as provide relief supplies to affected residents in a timely manner can lead to severe harm, loss of life and further socio-economic turmoil for citizens.
The Parliament by definition is the one place in which the Elected Representatives of the people have an opportunity to debate national issues and extract answers from the Government about how these issues will be resolved. Given the severity of the ongoing flooding, and especially given the multiple pleas by the Opposition MPs for action by the Government which could have prevented the flooding from being as severe as it was, this was an opportunity to hold the government to account for their inaction.
MP Tancoo noted that the prevention of the debate on flooding is extremely unfortunate, especially following the refusal to entertain debate last week on the crime wave which is also traumatizing the population. Tancoo declared “Even if we are prevented from raising and debating these matters in the Parliament, the Opposition will not be prevented from publicly challenging and demanding accountability from the Government.” The Oropouche West MP advised “It is critical that citizens take careful note of these developments. The voices of the population must never be stifled.”
Member of Parliament