Alleged use of herbicides in MMA/ADA canals must be clarified

Dear Editor,

I could not believe the statement as contained in a letter by Bramdeow Singh (SN February 9th, 2013) – titled `The MMA/ADA canals should not be cleared by the use of herbicides’.

If this alleged use of herbicides or chemicals to clear the canals at MMA is true then the Government authorities must first explain why this inappropriate method is being employed, and if so put an immediate end to this harmful activity.

When this scheme was designed and made operational I had some Ministerial responsibility for it at various levels and periods.

It was agreed then that these canals would be kept clear by using draglines mounted on pontoons – The grass, weeds and sludge, either to be carted away or put at designated spots along the banks of the canals.

Beyond this method President Forbes Burnham proposed to introduce manatees (Sea Cows) in the canals to take care of the aquatic growth.  These marine mammals are voracious consumers of grass and weeds.

This seemingly brilliant idea which would have cost much less was not pursued after many of the farmers admitted that even though in their interest they could not promise the Leader that the manatees would not be caught by their ‘kith and kin’ since manatee meat  is extremely soft and delicious, a rare delicacy.

For obvious reasons, the use of herbicides was a non negotiable apart from the valid points made in Mr. Singh’s letter about robbing labourers getting work and the harm and danger to the fish and marine life (a source of protein for residents)  I’ve caught huge tasty Piranha in these canals – the weeds and vegetation destroyed by chemicals or herbicides then sink to the bottom of the canals, thus reducing their holding capacity, in other words,  making these canals less deep, unless the contractors are required to remove the ‘dead’ weeds and grasses – but my information is that this is not a requirement.

They say the longest rope has an end, let us Mr. President put an end to this march of folly which seems to benefit only a chosen few while putting in peril the majority.

Yours faithfully,
 Hamilton Green, J.P.    

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