Authorities should ensure that people do not burn grass to clear land in housing areas

Dear Editor,

Some land owners are in the habit of setting fires to clear the land of grass, etc, not taking into consideration the threat to properties in close proximity to the fire. On several occasions the Guyana Fire Service had to be called to put out uncontrollable fires in Plot B, Plantation Herstelling, that had spread to other areas. On one occasion a resident lit his garbage on a piece of unoccupied land and the fire spread; the residents had to form bucket brigade to save a property since the fire service when called said that the fire tender did not have any water and a message had been sent to get one from another area. On several other occasions the services of the Guyana Fire Service had to be sought to put out raging fires and I had hoped that their report would have been sent to the relevant authorities. I want to believe that the by-laws of the Housing Schemes have stipulations prohibiting setting fires in housing areas. I just cannot understand the thinking of people doing this. Don’t they think beyond lighting a fire?

Apart from the threat to peoples’ properties, houses are engulfed in smoke and ashes, laundry must be redone and in some cases children and adults with respiratory illnesses need medical attention. In most instances, the perpetrators would douse the bushes and grass with flammable substances to ensure that it catches fire.

I have witnessed so many run-away fires. Only last week someone lit a fire on their land to clear it and the fire spread to several lots away which is next to my property. Today, April 12, I witnessed one person setting alight his (I assumed) land and the other buildings around it engulfed in smoke. The home owners had already left for work. Such anger erupted.  I emphasized one single person because if the fire spread he alone could not control it.

This is a serious matter and I am calling on the NDC to conduct visits in the council’s area of responsibility and have matters of this nature brought under control. I am also calling on the Ministry of Communities and the Guyana Police Force to cooperate and ensure that such occurrences do not continue, and that if they continue the perpetrators must be penalized because this is a situation that can seriously go wrong. Imagine you have just completed construction of your property after having borrowed millions of dollars from the bank, and then some selfish individual (s) comes burning bushes next to it.

The ministry can ensure that notices are put in the newspapers and in the agreement of sale (if it’s not there already), and that this matter be highlighted to residents and land owners continually.

Yours faithfully,

Indira Thakurdin      

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