The PNCR yesterday criticised the government’s response to the flooding in communities in the Upper Demerara, accusing it of discrimination in the distribution of aid.
Reading from a prepared statement at the party’s weekly press conference, PNCR MP Lance Carberry said they had noted with “great concern the inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and, in some cases, discrimination in the response by the administration.” He added, “While aid, particularly in the form of flood relief, has been distributed, by the government and other concerned organisations and citizens, to some areas, others have been neglected by the government.” He cited Silvertown, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Alleys and Christianburg, saying residents there have so far received nothing to help to alleviate their condition.
According to Carberry, the PNCR supports the calls by residents for the “more equitable distribution of aid for those affected by the flooding.”
In a brief response, Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Director General Colonel (ret’d) Chabilall Ramsarup said it was working with Region 10 Chairman Mortimer Mingo and acted upon his recommendations. “We were working with the regional chairman and he visited the most affected areas,” Ramsarup stated. He added that if the CDC worked on the premise that everyone who got water in their yard should be compensated, then those residents in Georgetown who lived in bottom flats, despite a building code prohibition, should receive aid too. The CDC is spearheading the aid exercise with several other government agencies as well as Food For the Poor.
Meanwhile, the PNCR also highlighted the state of roadways, saying that the major traffic arteries in Region 10 have become regularly impassable because of the administration’s neglect despite calls for a decentralised approach to the maintenance of the Linden to Lethem road and the Linden to Kwakwani road. “This is the third time for this year… that the Linden to Lethem Road has been cut off as a result of damage to the roadway from heavy rainfall, but still the response to this situation has to be mobilised from Georgetown, resulting in days of lost commerce and traffic along this important corridor,” Carberry said. He added that this leaves numerous businesspersons at the mercy of an uncertain future as logging operations have ground to a halt. “Residents of Region 10 are, therefore, calling for the establishment of a regional road maintenance unit, provided with the appropriate equipment and other resources, to address the upkeep of these vital hinterland roads, especially since the road building and heavy duty operating skills are readily available in these communities,” he stated.
According to the PNCR, the government’s neglect of areas not considered politically supportive is “reprehensible.” “The PPP/C 2011 political campaign programme in these communities, to carry out special projects in those neglected areas, will fool no one.
The recent cabinet outreach at Linden by President Bharrat Jagdeo and his merry bunch, where hundreds of millions of dollars were announced to be spent on various projects, in the region will not deceive the people of the region,” Carberry declared.