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Letter: Was it neglect and dereliction of duty?
Published on April 28, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

A follow up to "Were Buccament flood deaths murder by governmental neglect?"

With further and better evidence of government complicity.

December 2013 Flooding. On December 24 and 25, 2013, SVG was hit by a low-level, high impact trough system, which caused severe infrastructure damage to the country. The trough brought high winds, torrential rains and floods; local rainfall stations reported between 200mm and 310mm on the windward side of the island and 153.3mm in the leeward side of the island. As a result of the disaster event, there were 11 confirmed deaths and 3 persons were never found. The final disaster assessment concluded: 77 homes were completely destroyed or severely damaged; approximately another 300 homes were damaged; and 500 people were displaced and housed in temporary shelters.

Since their first year in power there is unequivocal evidence that the Unity Labour Party [ULP] government have been fully aware of the vulnerability to serious flooding at Buccament and in other places. They were aware that Buccament is generally a flood plain area. Their studies from 2001 to 2014 show just that. They have had twelve years to put river defences in at Buccament, but failed to do so. The Christmas 2013 Buccament flood tragedy occurred and lives were lost.

For 13 years the government had dragged their feet and carried out numerous studies for Social Assessment Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Projects, at Buccament and elsewhere.

Here are some of the official references to studies regarding the flooding danger from Buccament river. From them it’s most obvious that the government were fully aware of the dangers of doing nothing.

2000
October 3, 2000: Report No: PID8714
Project Name: St. Vincent and the Grenadines-St Vincent and the Grenadines-OECS Emergency Recovery & Disaster Management Program (APL)
[The beginning]

2001
May 31st 2001: Extract and abridged version, World Bank Report, Environmental Assessment #E560;
Project ID: P069923
Title: St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Program Project : environmental impact assessment
“The Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Project. Riverbank protection of the Buccament River by building gabion structures along sections of the river. Existing policy assuming the government to shoulder the cost of riverbank and property protection should be reviewed. Criteria should be established as the basis for future government involvement in riverbank protection projects. 4) Gabion structures could be made more endurable by utilizing PVC coated wire baskets for the areas close to the sea and subject to corrosion “.
[When this type of report is written, it is composed by information directly gathered from the government. So such a report only confirms what the government already knows, confirms what they told the World Bank]

2006: Hydrological and hydraulic studies completed for several rivers including the Buccament River regarding require river defence by the IBI Group.
[Sorry can’t find the report]

2010
 December 2010: Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) Environmental Assessment Report.
‘Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) Environmental Assessment Report # E2703’,
An extract of the report follows:
“As described, the project has a number of activities scattered throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Bequia). Most of the sites are located in communities in the following areas:
a) Coastal protection and river defence works. This includes: (i) coastal protection investments in Sandy Bay, Georgetown, and Kingstown around the South river; (ii) river defence works along Buccament river. St. Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project
Environmental Assessment”

2012
2012:Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) Social Assessment Report.
Discussions in the communities of Buccament and Marriaqua: Due to the size of these communities, their proximity to the rivers and the risk and incidence of flooding, it was anticipated that river defence activities would have significant impact. Residents were therefore invited to a discussion on the project.
Location
Buccament is located on the south leeward side of the island and sustains the largest and most reliable source of potable water on the island, the Dalaway catchment, which provides over 40% of the island’s total water supply. Apart from this, the river supports community activities such as sport fishing, bathing, and water for farms and stones for building construction. From documentation, it was revealed that the riverbanks are relatively shallow at 8ft to 15ft. (2001). Additionally, the river has a profound impact on the structure and life of the communities. It empties into a flood plain of relatively poor drained soils near Buccament Bay that runs along the main road.
Activity:
The installation of gabion walls comprising staggered stocks of gabions baskets varying in height between 12ft and 15ft. The walls will be 50ft in length on both banks downstream of the main bridge and 1000 ft along the right bank upstream of the bridge and 500 ft along the left bank.
Residents living along the river in the Buccament and Colonaire areas are in agreement for the project, given their agricultural based livelihood. They support the structures because they are of the opinion that the Gabion basket or wall would help to protect their lands as well as reduce the serious soil erosion that results in the devaluing of their properties. One land owner in Buccament indicated that almost 8 feet of his hand was washed away during the last five years due to torrential rains and flooding.

October 2013: IMF, World Economic Outlook Database.
Project Information Document PID.Additional Financing PID # A2445
Scaled up consulting services for River Defence work at Buccament
[just more consulting services]

2014
WORLD BANK Report dated February 2014 instructs and advises the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (RDVRP) Social Assessment Report.
“Buccament and Carriere River Defence Sub-projects Background. The lower sections of the Buccament and Carriere rivers pose potential threats to significant property and road infrastructure. In recent years, the Buccament valley has witnessed the development of a significant number of residential houses and a major hotel development. As a result, clearing and other poor land use practices in the development process have led to flooding of the river in its lower sections - requiring an intervention. Hydrological and hydraulic studies (DLN 2006) have been completed for several rivers including the Buccament River.
The current project seeks to implement the most critical flood mitigation measures proposed by the hydraulic studies“.
“This would include river defence measures that include a combination of reinforced concrete works, gabion baskets, realignment, levees, tributary drainage improvements, vegetation, and any other proven complementary efforts to improve past designs. The integrated watershed management activities would involve both technical studies and permanent remedial measures. With regard to the technical studies, this sub-project would inform the existing management plan for the Arnos Vale watershed by providing critical field data. The activities associated with this aspect of the sub-project would include workshops and knowledge management support, which would be organized to facilitate regional collaboration around integrated watershed management. Additionally, a maintenance plan would be prepared, which would include activities related to periodical drainage cleaning and educational programs to change human behaviour in relation to land use and waste disposal management“.

“Location: Buccament is located on the south leeward side of the island. From documentation, it was revealed that the riverbanks are relatively shallow at 8ft to 15ft. (2001). Additionally, the river has a profound impact on the structure and life of the communities. It empties into a flood plain of relatively poor drained soils near Buccament Bay that runs along the main road.
Activity: The installation of gabion walls comprising staggered stocks of gabions baskets varying in height between 12ft and 15ft. The walls will be 50ft in length on both banks downstream of the main bridge and 1000 ft along the right bank upstream of the bridge and 500 ft along the left bank“.

Should we conclude from the 12-year long failure for the “riverbank protection of Buccament River by building gabion structures along sections of the river“, that the government are guilty of neglect and dereliction of duty?

Is it a possible that if the river defence structures were in place by December 2013, that lives would have been saved and millions of dollars of structural and flood damage to public and private property would not have occurred?

I have wondered for a long time why there are hundreds of rock baskets for building gabion structures, folded as flat packs, laying in the government small works yard at Arnos Vale. They have been there since 2006 and are still there today.

Did this ULP government fail to act on their own advice and recommendations and that of the World Bank to carry out the work mentioned by the World Bank in the Project P069923 Vincent and the Grenadines - Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Program Project? It appears to me that they were very happy to keep having expert reports flowing for years, because someone else was paying for them. But when it came to action, there was none.

Seeing as the government knew about the need to carry out river flood protection, why did they give Buccament Bay resort permission to build in a known flood plain on a river that required river bank flood defences installing? Why did they approve of building private houses in a flood plain, next to a dangerous river requiring bank and river base restructuring and defences? Why? Why? Can they tell us why?

Why did they fail to install those defences?

I may be wrong, but it’s my honest opinion and belief that the prime minister should take full blame for what happened at Buccament, including the loss of life. It was all very well walking among the people stricken by the flood, people who lost family members, whole families dead and gone. Walking with tears in his eyes and talking about the tragedy as if it was an act of God. Was it an act of God? Or was it the non-action and failure of his government?

Perhaps if he had spent more time correcting the things that save lives and less time on pumping all the country’s money into the Argyle airport, perhaps the people and children lost at Buccament would still be with us.

I advise every reader to go to each of the reports online and read them carefully; you will see many other things that this government has failed you on.

There are hundreds of references and evidence that the ULP government led by PM Gonsalves were aware of the probabilities of this tragedy happening, too many to list here.

Did the people die at Buccament because of government neglect and dereliction of duty?

Peter Binose
 
Reads: 2727





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Comments:

Peter Binose:

2010: The Government held meeting in a number of towns under threat titled "St. Vincent and the Grenadines Social Assessment Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project" local representatives were invited from the community of tose towns and villages including Buccament, to discuss the component of the project that would be implemented in their area. The questions chosen for the discussion were taken from the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project Questionnaire. It was described as a social assessment.

So this was perhaps not even a surprise to Buccament people, or was it only a few ULP supporters who were invited to these meetings.

This is again proof, evidence that the government knew of the risk, otherwise why go to the lengths of having such discussions with local people, even if it was only a selected very few, I think only 17 local people were involved.
Here are a few who attended such meetings.
Diam Hickson Samuel
Norma Browne
Kathleen Prescot
Othniel Browne
Amor Jackson

Who are these people, can anyone tell me who these people are?

Peter Binose:

It amazes me that when they do something right everyone jumps on the bandwagon and wants to be part of the glory.

Now you are brought something that is indisputably wrong, an evil exposed and you all run the other way.

Not even men and women enough to comment on the evil, no rebukes, no sadness at unnecessary loss of life, nothing. It is the same kind of behaviour that contributed to the Holocaust.

I can think of no other nation who would accept this kind of information without rising up, voicing up and writing up.

Have you surrendered your Christianity for evil?

Has the ULP reduced you all to a nation of cowards?

Vinci Vin:

Peter: You are not alone. I tried this site yesterday but could not respond to a thing. Seems like the tactic of the ULP is to overwhelm people with BS - treat them like mushrooms, ie. keep the people in the dark on important issues while feeding them a bunch of bs.

Peter I noticed that the government hired a Dominican engineer to manage the Banana Accompanying measures (BAM). So much for the education revolution - no qualified Vincentians at home could be found to manage this program and gain the valuable experience? How about Vincentians in the Diaspora - Didn't they have eminently qualified applicants from the Diaspora?

Another thing: What's goping on with the Building and Loan situation? I heard that the government hired a foreigner to fix that problen too. Again, no qualified Vincentian at home or abroad to manage that problem? I know at least one eminently qualified Vincentian Barrister with LLM, MA and chartered accountant designation who applied but didn't even get an interview. So what's going on here? Another case: The PM couldn't show his face in the US to speak on reparations so he send his surrogate from Barbados - what happened? Wasn't Jomo already in the USA? If Jomo had a conflict weren't there anyone at the embassy who could represent the PM? Now who paid for the Bajan to represent SVG in the USA?

The ULP has reduced the SVG populace to weaklings begging for crumbs from the table. When will they wake up to the smoke and mirrors obeah?

So many questions - so little time. Pouie where are you?

Vin

Peter Binose:

VINCI, It just amazes me how no one cares about the deaths at buccament can be attributed to a failure by the Unity Labour Party Marxist led Government.

No one cares that as Minister of Finance and also as minister of National Security and as Prime Minister who claims to know what is going on in every square inch of SVG. That I claim that he must be held directly responsible for the loss of life and loss of property. In any other country such a person would resign. He will not resign because strange as it may seem Vincentians just do not give a toss. He can do no wrong even when it includes loss of innocent lives.

Vinci Vin:

Peter: The old people used to say "time longer than twine" meaning that those who think that they are getting away with bad deeds might escape the consequences for a time. However, in time it will catch up with them. Remember the Biblical: " The sins of the father will be visited upon his children, even up top the third and fourth generations"? Well, the PM and his cronies might be in for a rude awakening. No amount of Obeah can shield them from the wrath of the Almighty.

Yet, it is heart wrenching to learn what is going on in SVG today. A friend reported that one man killed his nephew over a cell phone in the Grenadines. Another man killed a Villager over some ganja - hacked him to death with a machete. Two sons around Kingstown chopped up their father (a longtime taxi operator) over an argument about upkeep of a property on which the father allowed the sons to build a house. A farmer had a dozen goats when he went to sleep one night. When he awoke next morning all of the goats were stolen. What kind of society have we descended to? What kind of madness has the OBEAHMAN wreched on the poor people of SVG?

It is more than SAD!

Vin


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