Minister of Works, Sen. Julian Francis says the clean up after the Christmas floods is incomplete. (IWN image)

Minister of Works, Sen. Julian Francis, has urged the media to continue to highlight the on-going recovery after the Christmas floods, which has left EC$330 million dollar in damage across the country.

“It is not over,” he told a joint press conference with the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) on Tuesday, during which he updated the media on the on-going recovery and clean up.

Torrential rain from a trough system on Christmas Eve triggered flash floods and landslides that have left nine people dead and three missing, in addition to EC$330 million in damage to housing, public infrastructure, and agriculture.

Francis, who is co-ordinating the distribution of appliances and mattresses as part of the recovery effort, noted that it is not yet three months since the storm, adding that there are “still many “suffering people out there.

“People who are suffering, people who … having a hard time putting their lives back together. … Those of us who live in the unaffected areas, after traffic started to flow and everything else, we figured it is over,” he said.

“The repairs … are on-going … the work is not done. And I want particularly the print media, and the electronic media to give before and after shots as to where we are.

“Please, let the people know — remember what happened on Christmas Eve, and, six days short of three months we are still at it … but it is not as intense as it was then, but it is still on-going,” the works minister further said.

He said BRAGSA has been employing teams to clean the houses of yards of residents affected by the flood.

“BRAGSA will not stop putting gangs in until all these people’s homes and backyards are cleaned up. The money will come; I believe in that. It is not all here, so far we have been getting what we ask for…

“People were overwhelmed. This country was overwhelmed by the damage that was created but this storm; every aspect of life. All of us who were in leadership positions, we were overwhelmed,” Francis said.

He said that BRAGSA, a state-owned firm responsible for the maintenance of public infrastructure, “has been at it since Christmas Day”.

BRAGSA’s work has included cleaning landslides, construction of temporary pedestrian bridges over rivers where the permanent bridges were destroyed, and the de-silting of rivers.

Francis spoke of the agency’s “hard work”, adding that it has had to clean up after the storm while performing its everyday duties.

He said that a further EC$2 million for the clean up and repair is expected to be disbursed this week.

“I don’t want us to forget what we have out there. It is not over. I don’t the media to back off on it, I want you to challenge me on it…” Francis said, suggesting that the media can question the pace and prioritising of work.

3 replies on “Clean up after Christmas floods still incomplete — Sen. Francis”

  1. Peter Binose says:

    What is this man doing the job of NEEMO for, BRAGSA this and BRAGSA that, no mention of NEEMO.

    It was his very governments actions in allowing building in a know flood plain that directly contributed to this tragedy. The proof is that now they are rebuilding houses on higher ground, if that wasn’t wrong in the first place why is there a need to do that.

    Francis should of kept the million US dollars cash that came in an old bag and used some of that to help people. Its all very well helping people with other peoples money and then claiming the glory as if its your own because it is/was not.

    How about all the US cash that was hawked around Kingstown stores and banks, by ULP top members and family. That would of been better given to the people not the greedy, not the selfish.

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    I applaud you Julian, And as you say BRAGGSA has been at it since Christmas Day. From that day onwards you make sure that party “faithfuls” , who were disgruntled because nothing was coming their way, are the ones getting all the work?. So like Tomas, you jumped at the opportunity presented to you when the storm came to give work to your boys and girls. The many truck drivers, road supervisors and majority of workers were all from your party. You ensured that. I urge all who doubt to go to the affected villages and ask who are the people getting work to clean up. So while you quote millions, as you love to, did u tell the press that only five days you are paying at a time? DId you tell the press that personal friends are put in charge of jobs that they have no clue what the work entails? You in the meantime enjoy it while it last and keep a note of what you’re doing it might come in useful in the event you are made a scapegoat when the games begin.

  3. Alwayn Leacock says:

    Whils we applaud your efforts Minister Francis and yo ahve our empathies and full support we also need ot know about what is being put i place to prevent or mitigate a repeat of December 24th a river conservation and preservation programme, land management programme, bridges and road surveliiance programme all supported by the necessary legislation. Is poyers message being heeded albeit too late.

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