More questions than answers: evacuees' patience wears thin
A Special feature on the past , present and future of Petite Savanne
Some Petite Savanne evacuees are thinking of returning to the devastated village because their patience has worn thin with what they see as undue delays in the relocation process.
A source close to the disgruntled evacuees said they are frustrated that the process has not yet reached the stage of enabling them to retrieve their household furniture and other personal effects left behind during the evacuation.
According to the source, as part of the relocation process, the group wants to return to Petite Savanne and salvage items from their former homes, which will help to restore some semblance of normalcy in their lives.
The source said the displaced villagers have even made private arrangements to recover their belongings. But most of the evacuees are still temporarily accommodated at guest houses with little or no storage space for any recovered belongings.
Furthermore, the source indicated that the evacuees have become even more anxious since hearing that heavy-duty equipment that was being used to make access to Petite Savanne possible, has been withdrawn.
In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had expressed concerns about the residents retrieving their belongings and said Government was working to create access to the community.
"As we speak we are making progress in our forward march to access Petite Savanne and that is in an effort to see how we can facilitate a number of residents who have their properties, their movable properties there and they would like to get them out – how we can facilitate them in getting them out," he said.
Now, evacuees are worried that such work will be brought to a premature halt and the area will become inaccessible once more before they get a chance to retrieve their stuff, the source said.
The source added the Relocation Committee should press Government for answers about this issue.
Some are concerned that the relocation process for the Petite Savanne evacuees seems to have come to a standstill.
While many of the evacuees are being accommodated at guest houses, others who are staying at private residences will have to leave, the Sun Newspaper understands.
Earlier, the committee asked evacuees to fill out forms indicating where they prefer to be resettled. According to the source, most of the forms had been returned by this week and the choice of the majority seems to be the village of Warner.
However, a source said that some of the areas Government has identified as possible relocation sites for the evacuees comprise private property and the cost of the lands are expensive.
Moreover, many of the displaced persons want to know if there is any plan to compensate them for crops lost during the storm, as which were their sole source of livelihood.
The Sun newspaper tried several times to contact Parliamentary Representative for Petite Savanne Dr Kenneth Darroux and members of the Relocation Committee for their comments on the issue, but they were not available.