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(NEWSDAY) — Citizens who have not been affected by the weekend floods should go to work today so as to ultimately help those individuals hardest hit by the adverse rainfall, Minister of National Security Stuart Young said yesterday at a briefing at his office. Also at the press conference was Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.
Young said, “We can’t shut down the whole country at this time. That is our assessment, there are many knock-on effects.” He said hundreds of thousands of citizens have not been harmed by flooding.
However for those individuals going to work today, Young asked them to use “extreme caution” on the roadways and if possible avoid use of secondary roads which often lie at a lower level than major roads and are more prone to flooding.
“Don’t take unnecessary risks,” he implored. “We ask people to just exercise common sense and caution.” Saying a small stretch of the Uriah Butler Highway is flooded, he urged, “Once people follow the law, we’ll get there.”
Young expected at least two “good” lanes of that highway to be usable for dual north and south bound traffic.
Young read out a list of about 20 schools in flood-hit areas, some of which serve as emergency shelters, which he said would stay shut today.
Asked why today is not declared as a school holiday, Young said, “What that does is put pressure on parents to stay home with their children.” Cabinet has mulled many factors to arrive at a balancing exercise, he added.
Having flown over flood-hit Trinidad, Young related seeing the trauma faced by residents, saying, “In Greenvale it was heart-breaking.” He asked people to bond together at times like this regardless of race and religion.
Young lamented criminals stealing residents’ flood-damaged appliances to sell for scrap iron. “I asked the Commissioner of Police to get more officers on the ground.”
Minister Sinanan said if rain fell last night, as was predicted, there could be a challenge at the Uriah Butler Highway today.