Monday’s day of ‘rest and reflection’ called by the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) halted classes at many schools on Day 1 of the school term; however, students and teachers of Matelot Community College and Matelot Community RC School have extended time away. A landslide last week made access to the school risky.
Part of the Paria Main Road was still blocked with mud Wednesday, September 7. Prior to this event, other issues with access to Matelot have been reported. A section of the road is collapsing and the wooden bridge on the Paria Main Road and bridge at the corner of Marcelle Trace and Paria Main Road are rotted.
Reports have been made to the Ministry of Education and contact made with the Disaster Management Unit of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation. There was a mound of dirt several feet high which had to be cleared and benching (dividing the area into several smaller and less steep slopes reinforced by retaining walls) done. However, rainfall prevented commencement of these activities.
Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT) personnel were expected to start when the soil had dried sufficiently and stabilised. Meanwhile, part of the Paria Main Road was cleared to allow emergency traffic. Electricity, phone, and internet service were restored Tuesday.
A recommendation was made by the school administrator for delayed opening until the conditions are safe.
The Matelot residents and by extension school community have faced setbacks because of bad weather. It has caused loss of electricity so internet is unavailable and electronic devices cannot be used.
Disruption of landline and mobile services stops communication with parents, and officials of the Ministry of Education, and the Catholic Education Board of Management.
Communication during the rainy season is paramount should there be need for emergency evacuation. There are concerns damage to the Paria Main Road can trap staff and students who live outside the area.
UPDATE: Classes will resume at the Matelot Community College and Matelot RC School on Friday September 9.
The MOWT has advised that the road to Matelot and bridges are passable. Some areas though will have single lane traffic as preventive measures are undertaken to deal with the landslide.