Ramsammy should tell the sectoral committee how the Hope Canal works will be finished by September 2014

Dear Editor,

In a presentation to the Parliamentary Sector Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture Minister Dr Ramsammy gave a September 2014 completion deadline for the Hope-Dochfour Canal Project (HDCP). He stated that the contractor for the sluice had complied with the various requests of his ministry and he did not foresee any impending problem which will prevent the contractor completing construction of the sluice by the end of September 2014.

Completion of this sluice does not make HDCP operational, which means that it will have no effect per se to lower water levels in the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC). Until such time that all elements of the project and ancillary works are completed no floodwater from the EDWC could be discharged into the Atlantic Ocean.

There are many ancillary works not part of HDCP contracts which are yet to be completed and Minister Ramsammy has not obtained additional funding for these works let alone awarded contracts for their completion. These works would include but not be limited to 1. the outfall channel from the sluice to the ocean; 2. tie-in of the sea defence to the abutments of the sluice; 3. tie-in of the EDWC dam to the abutments of the head regulator; 4. clear (not chop) the 10 km canal of its overgrown weeds and raise its embankments to the required elevations as well as complete excavation of those sections still undone.

Minister Ramsammy should assure the Parliamentary Sector Committee how he intends to complete the above mentioned works by September 2014 to make HDCP operational unless he has another time extension for project completion up his sleeve, in which case he should have the courage of his conviction and call it a day by hanging up his gloves. After all, his performance with the sugar and rice industries has been very dismal and coastal residents still await delivery and installation of the drainage pumps which were bought from India and were to have been installed years ago to alleviate the risks from flooding.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Sohan

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