The Chairman of the Ireng/ Sawariwau Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) says that the local government body is not aware that any permission was given to Brazilian army personnel to transport gravel to Lethem residents and he is concerned about whether anyone is monitoring the soldiers.
The border community falls under the purview of the NDC and Chairman, Terrence Boston told Stabroek News yesterday that the gravel was being transported from a location about six kilometres outside Lethem during the night. He said that using large 20-tonne trucks, an estimated 300 loads were transported to Lethem businesspersons, who apparently contracted the Brazilian army personnel to transport the material for them.
This newspaper had reported that Lethem police were alerted to the racket, which involves businesspersons in the border community allegedly contracting Brazilian army personnel, working on the Takutu bridge access road on the Guyana side, to transport gravel to their businesses.
Boston is concerned that it seems that no one in Guyana is monitoring the actions of the Brazilians. Members of the neighbouring country’s army, who are building the access road leading to the Takutu Bridge, have been camping alongside their equipment on the Guyana side since November. This newspaper was told that the Brazilian Vice-Consul in Lethem was made aware of the matter on Monday and asked to see proof and a tour was taken around Lethem.
Large piles of gravel were evident outside some business places. “This is lawlessness”, Boston said, noting that he had brought the matter to the attention of Regional Authorities.
He pointed out that members of a foreign army are operating on Guyana’s soil and expressed concern that he had never noticed anyone monitoring them not even members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) stationed at Lethem. He said that the NDC could do nothing about the situation except inform the authorities.
Asked about the matter, Regional Chairman Clarindo Lucas told this newspaper that he has no knowledge of anyone monitoring the works at the road site on a day to day basis.
He said however, that the Region undertakes periodic checks while Walter Willis of the Ministry of Public Works visits regularly.
Previously, he said, members of the GDF had been attached to the team, but were recalled.
He stated that he was not certain why they were recalled and concerns about the lack of monitoring had been raised at a Regional meeting.
Previous efforts on the Takutu bridge had been suspended by Brasilia after corruption was found in some of the arrangements.