Who is to blame for the places outside Georgetown which flood?

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, November 26, I ran into Francis Quamina Farrier at Stabroek Market whilst on my way to catch a minibus to go home that evening. We started catching up on the times we had whilst working at The Evening News and updating one another about the other staff that we happened to reach. During the conversation we started to discuss the state of the market

area with the garbage and the danger it posed, and he informed me that over the years he had travelled to numerous countries and had never seen one so dirty as Guyana. I told him that it is not Georgetown alone that is dirty, the whole country is.

The very next day we experienced heavy rainfall again, and as was expected, it was total chaos. As usual, the Thursday papers had the regulars blaming one another about the state of Georgetown and I decided to say something about it. When they started to charge people for littering in Georgetown, I asked the present Mayor when he came to the studio to record the mayoral broadcast, how they could charge people for littering when one cannot find any garbage bins around the city. He replied that they should hold the garbage until they reach their homes or find one. The very next day after the Wednesday flood the Mayor is complaining of clogged drains.

Eight years after asking that question, I cannot locate a garbage bin when walking in most places in Georgetown, and when you look at the roadsides or in the canals and trenches the sight that one sees is not refreshing.

Apart from that, the Mayor is blaming the Town Clerk Carol Sooba for refusing to sign a cheque for the repair of trucks so that the canal can be desilted, and I am wondering if she is the reason that the Sussex Street canal cannot be desilted, because since I was a small boy that canal has been in the same state, like many others. I wonder what is the use of having a Mayor for so many years and every time a disaster happens it is the same excuses we keep getting over and over?

Editor, what is ironic is that whilst most news about the recent flooding focuses mostly on Georgetown, there are a lot of places around Guyana that suffer tremendously, and lots of people suffer heavy losses. So whilst the government is blaming the Mayor of Georgetown for the flooding in Georgetown, I would like to know whom they would blame for the other parts of Guyana that suffer also?  Every time there’s rainfall in Guyana, there’s places that get flooded quickly, and over the years instead of trying to remedy that situation, they make excuses and promises. We will all be hearing about machines clearing trenches and canals, but if you stop and look carefully at the work you wonder if they are doing it voluntarily, because most times I observe them only clearing the top of the canals (weeds/floating debris) and not digging deep. As the government sometimes admits also, most of the trenches and canals need desilting, and they award contracts to their friends and families and they never ensure that the works they are paying for are done properly.

Finally, Editor, I could recall too, a few years ago my former boss, Mr Anthony Vieira had to move to the court after the trench opposite his house at Versailles was being enclosed by a developer. His reason was that the work would cause the environs around to be flooded easily

because the trench would not be able to accommodate the water during the rainy season. It took a few years but justice was served in Vieira’s favour.

However to date, the post still remains there and the edges of the trench almost reach the post. I recalled that incident after seeing similar work being undertaken at a trench in Cornelia Ida now, where a house is being built at the side of the trench and approximately 10 feet into the water, piles have already been driven down. I am wondering if the residents of the area are aware of the danger and are bold enough to make the same move as Vieira. In how many other places is that happening, because at present, it looks as if we don’t see the importance of trenches and canals in Guyana. Meanwhile, the people who are really doing work in Guyana have to suffer, whilst those living off taxpayers’ money are ensuring that we punish.

Yours faithfully,

Sahadeo Bates

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