Flooding in the Mahaicony area is due to the siltation of the Abary River

Dear Editor,

I refer to the recent flooding in the Mahaicony area and state that in my opinion the flooding is due to the siltation of the Abary River which cannot drain its own command area. The comment by the ex-minister Dr Ramsammy that the Hope Canal was specifically built to prevent flooding in the Mahaicony area is erroneous. However, when you release water via the Maduni and Lama sluices some water does go over the threshold into the Mahaicony area, but this is not the main cause of the flooding. It should also be noted the mouth of the Mahaica River is heavily silted up preventing drainage via the Mahaica River and causing flooding downstream.

In the 1970s when the IDB came to Guyana I took the members in first by speedboat and then by flying over the MMA Area where they saw clearly during heavy rainfall the water from the Abary River overflowing and going towards the Mahaicony area. The US$20M loan was obtained to construct the internal works only up to the Abary River. The Burnham administration paid for the weir, the dam construction and the Abary 7 Door Sluice − the first stage of the MMA. I wanted the loan up to the Mahaicony River but the IDB gave the loan only up to the Abary River to see how it would go.

When the PPP came to power in 1992, I visited the MMA a year later and observed the doors of the 7 Door Abary Sluice closed and water leaking from the sides and through the neoprene seals. I had earlier designed the sluice and supervised construction and had given operating instructions to the MMA at the time. I explained to the man in charge − a PPP favourite − the operating instructions, but he adamantly refused to open the doors to keep the river alive and he said the present leakage was enough to keep the river alive.

The Abary River is now more or less a dead river, and no lending agency would provide a loan to continue up to the Mahaicony.

I wish the new administration well, but it would not be easy to correct the major mistakes made by the previous administration.

Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Alli

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