Sun | Oct 20, 2019

Spencer: Urgent river training need in St Thomas

Published:Saturday | September 21, 2019 | 12:14 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer

Councillor of the Seaforth division in St Thomas Joan Spencer is raising concerns about what she has referred to as an urgent need for river training in her area.

Speaking with The Gleaner, she said that the Johnson River, which runs into the Morant River, has, in the past and on numerous occasions, overflowed its bank and has caused much displacement of residents as it completely inundated their homes.

“There’s a lot of mining taking place in the area, and the embankment needs to be protected. They mine there every day, and not much protective measures are in place. I was born in Seaforth, and I know how that river goes and how bad it is when it overflows its bank,” Spencer said.

She added: “We have seen where it has broken its banks some time ago and destroyed many communities, and we don’t want a repeat, and to prevent it, we need the river training… . We need to protect the bank.”

Spencer revealed that despite her constant reports and pleas to the relevant authorities, no action has been taken to address the issue.

According to her, “The right people need to come and look at what is taking place and come and make the recommendations. I have been putting it on the committee minutes report for a number of years, and still no redress. I remember the last time the river broke its bank. We had a demonstration, and I even nearly go to jail, and still, nothing happened.”

Residents of the district are also becoming fearful of what might happen later in the hurricane season.

Adrian Williams, who lives in the area and admits to having been affected in the past years, shared his fears.

“Down the river stay very bad. The last time, likkle rain fall and it flood out the whole community. A good while we nuh get rain, and now the sky black up, and we a fret because we nuh know when it going to flood again.”

Williams admitted that though he lives in the vicinity of the river and is at risk, there are other community members who stand a greater chance of being displaced should it rain heavily.

“Them people deh basically live in the river because the grind tear down. If it fall good good, then dem people deh pon the grind side nuh have nuh home left. Right yah now, me wouldn’t mind see somebody come look pon it fi see what can be done to fix it cause it nuh stay good at all,” he said.