Fixing Georgetown from below

Bert Carter is a national treasure; let’s start from there. If you needed any persuading of that, you should have been at Moray House on a recent Monday when he spoke to a very attentive crowd on the drainage infrastructure of Georgetown. Speaking completely off the cuff, without a single piece of paper in his hand, or a reference note book, the gentleman delivered a master class, minus the politics, on the drainage apparatus of Georgetown.

With his background as Assistant City Engineer from 1969 to 1973, Bert is a walking encyclopaedia of what lies below and around the city, and the striking thing is that, no longer a young man, he delivers this information from memory – and what a memory. In the course of a casual conversation, Bert will mention the date electricity came to Georgetown, or who was Head of what Ministry in what year, and sometimes who was the Principal Secretary. He is known among friends and associates for this amazing recall, and for his trait of self-deprecating humour in the midst of some informational gem he has just delivered. His forte, though, is the apparatus and history of Georgetown. He is intensely passionate about that, and he will talk excitedly about the effective design of the city taking into account the below-sea-level conditions and the methods to move water to the river through sluice gates at low tide.

For anyone who has traversed them on foot, bicycle and motor vehicle, a singular revelation from Bert Carter’s Moray House delivery is the complexity of what is arranged below the streets of Georgetown. To begin with, it seems, as in the case with the seawall, that we’ve been giving the Dutch too much credit for the system. In the world according to  …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.



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