The Hope Canal project should be halted until alternatives are explored

Dear Editor,

Reference to an article in the newspapers of December 20, 2011 concerning the Hope canal, which at this time is only 10% complete. The technical reasons why this project was conceived were long challenged by the opposition and this would be a good time to stop the project, until all of the alternatives including the completion of the MMA scheme are explored completely. There are many highly qualified civil engineers with vast experience in hydraulics such as Charles Sohan and Malcolm Ali who question the feasibility of this expensive project to control the East Demerara Water Conservancy [EDWC] levels. In addition, the current level of the conservancy is 58 GD. It was supposed to be raised to 62 GD to serve the estates and the rice farmers in the El Nino years but the conservancy is still incapable of conserving at that level and continues to function at 58 GD. We are committing a violation of a cardinal rule of administration in this Hope Canal project, since our consultants are also our contractors. It is a clear conflict of interest.

We do not know if this Hope relief will be capable of working at the anticipated 62 GD level which is what we want the EDWC to be capable of holding, so that it can function in our interest in the El Nino dry years when we need to conserve water at a much higher level. Any budgetary allocation to this project in 2012 therefore should not be passed until we get all of the facts. We should also ask what the total cost has been to rectify the numerous problems associated with the conservancy dam which was executed mostly by hand using mud filled plastic bags after we paid 400 million to raise it and the numerous problems we ended up with because the job was not done properly and was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The floods on the East Coast in 2004 and 2005 are good examples.

Yours faithfully,
Tony Vieira

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