Flood-weary First St residents want Alexander Village canal properly cleared

A section of the alley that was recently cleaned by resident Jameson Doman.

Residents of First Street, Alexander Village, Georgetown say they remain threatened by flooding despite the main drainage canal being cleaned some months ago after an intervention by Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

At an event to officially open foot path bridges in the community in January this year, residents lamented the challenges they face whenever it rains or tides rise above the normal height.

Residents had complained of waterlogged yards, clogged alleys and poor drainage in the community, saying they have recurring expenses due to the damage that the flooding frequently caused.

Harmon had used his office to have a team of engineers from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Mayor and City Council conduct an assessment after which a report was submitted and a plan of action was drafted.

Harmon had mobilised assistance from the Civil Defence Commission, the Ministry of the Presidency and the Guyana Tractor and Equipment (GuyTrac), a company based in the area, for the relief project.  

During a recent visit to the community by this newspaper, residents said that they have seen little improvement and they opined that if the canal had been given a thorough cleaning they could have benefited from a flood-free community.  They are now calling for assistance to ensure the canal is cleaned.

“The road still get water on it when it rains but it pulls off quickly, faster than before. We try to keep the alley drains clean but the weeds in the canal is starting to grow back,” Navin Persaud, a resident who had dropped to his knees and pleaded for relief back in January, said.

He, like others, is fearful that the flooding will recur if the canal that separates Alexander Village and La Penitence is not properly maintained.

Jameson Doman, another resident of First Street, related to Stabroek News that he has been making time to clean and clear the section of the drain and the alleyway in front of him. However, he said that the weeds needs to be cleared once again.  “We, the residents, cannot manage to clean the canal and we need help… I try and clean in front of my place but the canal still needs to clean,” said Doman.

“We need government to move the squatters on so that the excavator can go in and clean the canal. It would help us tremendously…,” he said.

Another resident, Kishoodatt Samaroo, told Stabroek News that he cleans the drains and alley next to his home in a bid to prevent flooding. “Emancipation Day we had heavy rains and that caused some flooding but it didn’t stay long on the road but when the tide is high, the water stay until the falls…,” he said.

Samaroo believes that the canal needs to be de-silted before it can serve the community effectively.

“They need to dig out the slush… when they cleaned the canal the last time, they just remove the bush they didn’t get to dig it out… that’s what it needs because the bush keeps growing… the canal just needs a good cleaning,” the resident opined.

Meanwhile, residents of Second Street explained that since the canal was cleaned and cleared of vegetation, they have not been flooded.

A resident explained that they would notice the water in the drains rising and the parapets would be covered by water but the street and their yards remain dry.

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