Contractor Deowdat Singh has met with residents of San Souci, Wakenaam, and surrounding villages, who were affected by flooding due to a breach in the river defence last month, and he has agreed to compensate them for a percentage of their loses, according to sources from the region.
Residents were greeted with several inches of floodwater early on the morning of June 17th, 2018, due to the overtopping. The tide also reportedly continuously bombarded and eventually broke a section of the river defence.
Singh had previously told Stabroek News that he was accepting partial blame for the flooding, which he said was caused by an unusually high tide that he did not anticipate.
“It wasn’t a breach. It was just the tide was too high. We work [with] a tide book and when we checked the tide book, we built the wall for what we were expecting and it came up far more higher and we didn’t cater for that,” Singh had said, while emphasising that he was taking the brunt of the blame.
Singh had also related that he was open to the idea of compensating the residents for their losses and sources from the region have said that the man has met with all those who suffered major losses and told them that he will compensate them for a percentage of their losses.
“There’s about one person who lost in excess of $500,000 and the other 11 of the 12 that suffered major losses are much lower than the one person. He [Singh] met with them and has taken the initiative of compensating them. He had a meeting and laid his cards on the table,” a source related, while adding that there were no complaints from the residents, except for the one person who lost the most.
Singh has also reportedly agreed to compensate a masjid that suffered major losses with $500,000 to replace its carpets and anything else that was damaged.
Stabroek News made several attempts to contact Singh but these were unsuccessful.
When contacted for confirmation, Regional Information Officer Ganesh Mahipaul told Stabroek News that the region was not officially informed by the contractor about the decisions but it had heard from residents about the meeting and what they were told.
“The region was informed by virtue of hearing that he met with residents and we heard that he had discussions with the residents and that they are coming to an amicable solution. If such is the case then the region welcomes the initiative and we believe that is the way forward because it shows that the contractor has accepted that what happened was because of his negligence and it shows his level of maturity and his commitment and that he ultimately cares,” Mahipaul said.
He added that the region was still waiting on the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to respond to a letter requesting the launch of an investigation into the cause of the breach.