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Land Owners Urged to take Responsibility for Protecting their Properties from Landslides

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Friday, November 25, 2005 - The Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities has highlighted the need for land owners to take responsibility for protecting their own properties from the onslaught of land slippages.

The Ministry's Permanent Secretary Jerome Jules says his department has to grapple with public expectation that it should be held responsible for land slippages occurring on their private properties.

Mr. Jules says whereas the Ministry does have some personal responsibility for the clearing of access to pedestrians and vehicular traffic, its main responsibility is to Public infrastructure.

“However there are situations where on humanitarian grounds the Ministry has responded to requests from persons to assist in clearing slides or to deal with issues of a fallen tree on private property, but we still need to make that differentiation that for private property you have a personal responsibility to respond to that and the state has the responsibility to deal with the public infrastructure,” Mr. Jules said.

Persistent showers was to blame for the unusually high number of land slippages at this time of year on the island. The Barre d' isle, a major passage way for traffic flowing from the north to the south of the island, is one such area that has been affected by the heavy rainfall last week.

Chief Engineer Jude Regis says earlier in the week traffic in that area had to be somewhat restrained to facilitate the placement of filter drains to prevent further movement of the soil.

“We are aware that the movement of the soil mass is mainly as a result of water in the soil. Our intention is to remove as much water from the soil as possible. Placing the filter drain in the area will facilitate the movement of water out of the soil, so if we have more rain they will assist in evacuating the water a quickly as possible out of that soil mass,” Mr. Jude Said

It was just two weeks before the rains came that the Ministry of Communications and Works commenced a massive drain clearing exercise within the city of Castries. Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities Honourable Felix Finisterre
says large amounts of silt combined with equal amounts of garbage and other debris were removed as a result.

“It was just very very fortuitous that we uncovered all of the slabs, cleared up all of the drains and took off the silt. If it were not for those drain cleaning works which we had done two weeks ago the flooding in the City of Castries would have been much worse,” said Minister Finisterre.

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