Bartica’s market has been without water and electricity for about three weeks, and according to the Chairman of the Bartica Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Gerald Joseph, there is not much that can be done.
Joseph explained that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) had cut the market’s power supply, prior to the demolition of the old structure. This was due to the fact that the NDC could not foot the bill for power.
He, however, noted that in order for the contractor to refurbish the facility, the electricity supply was required from 2008 to 2009. He further stated that after the construction work was finished, an arrangement was made with GPL for payments to be made monthly until the debt was paid off.
“Unfortunately, we could not continue paying because other problems arose and this had to be placed on the backburner. GPL eventually cut off the lights during the course of this month,” Joseph explained.
On the water situation, Joseph said yet another arrangement was made by the contractor to have water for his work. After construction was completed, the NDC received a bill from the Guyana Water Inc about five months ago, with an amount dating back from when the contractor would have been operating. The NDC could not pay the bill.
As a result, the overseer, Joseph said, purchased an electrical pump with the necessary hose to acquire water from the Essequibo River. It was stored in two black tanks. “So they were pulling water from the river so that the vendors can get water,” he said.
However, the pump cannot function without electricity.
Joseph also explained that although the market does not have electricity, each stallholder has their own source of power, except for the fish vendors who he noted leave the market around 1pm.
A vendor told this newspaper that the situation was dreadful, while explaining that the NDC had been requesting $2,000 a day for the utilities. “This is like when you renting a house and the rent include water and light… if the water and light cut off who you got to blame? GPL or the landlord? They are the ones in charge!” the man related.
Last week, Bartica said the situation was a reflection of the NDC’s failure.
In a letter, published in the July 22 edition of Stabroek News, a resident Winston Miller questioned how the revenue from rates and taxes, extensions, sheds and trestles, the abattoir, market stalls, arcade stalls, roadside vendors, push cart vendors, landing fees, sand pit fees, tractor and trailer hire operations, cemetery fees and building applications, among other things, is spent.
When this newspaper spoke to Miller on Friday, he reiterated what was said in his letter, adding that the entire market is suffering as a result. “The market in general is suffering because the roof lights and so ain’t working… even the toilets have been out of water for a month,” he explained.