Region Ten Vice-Chairman Byron Lewis has expressed concern that no fire hydrant has been installed under the multi-million dollar Linden Potable Water Rehabilitation Programme.
He made the observation during a public consultation on the Dakoura Creek Watershed Management Project, which was intended to give as many stakeholders ownership of a sustainable programme of potable water service in Linden.
In response to Lewis’ concern, an official of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) said there is an issue between the Guyana Fire Service and GWI that has to be worked out in terms of ownership of fire hydrants. Pointing to the need for a comprehensive programme to determine where fire hydrants should be installed, who would be responsible for maintaining them and on the basis of ownership, the GWI official suggested that the Linden Town Council should make a formal request for the installation of fire hydrants as part of the rehabilitation exercise and placement at specific locations.
Lewis further stated that he understands that fire hydrants were strategically installed at Mackenzie when the expatriate Canadian bauxite industry, DEMBA, operated there and he could not understand why no consideration was given to placing fire hydrants in the Linden Water System Rehabilitation Project.
According to him, this could only have come about because the planners did not have community involvement when they were designing the project because knowledgeable members of the community would have informed them of previous fire hydrants and their locations. Lewis added that it is unfortunate that “at this crucial point in time, we are only asked to make our input to a programme that has already been developed and is being implemented.”
Samuel Wright, Consultant on the Dakoura Creek Watershed Management Project, in responding to Lewis said “the Linden water system rehabilitation project has been in process for about four or five years and there have been at least six consultations on the issue and many of the consultations have not been well attended.”
Wright said he has had discussions with Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and indicated to him that the Linden water system rehabilitation project was a project that tried to reach out for a handshake from the community but the community did not respond.
Wright said the project was designed with adequate resources for community outreach and consultation but the community did not respond to the consultations. “So, there is a missing part to the project,” Wright said, “and I think it is because the community did not respond in the way it could have responded in the area of consultation for this project.”