Projects stalled after Bartica’s only sandpit shuts down

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By Devina Samaroo

Public and private projects in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni Mazaruni) have been stalled after the only sandpit in the town was ordered close by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The sandpit, located at Five Miles, is operated by the Bartica Town Council and was given a cease order about two weeks ago over safety infractions at the site.

However, Deputy Mayor Kamal Persaud told News Room Tuesday that there were no major safety violations and this development is not good for the town.

“It is affecting the township tremendously,” Persaud said.

Deputy Mayor Kamal Persaud

She explained that overseas-based persons would normally travel to Bartica during this period to conduct renovations and remodelling of their homes here.

But due to the unavailability of the key construction material, they are unable to make much progress.

A similar situation exists with the public sector projects, where the rehabilitation of the community center and construction of a new Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) power station is currently on hold.

The decision to cease the sandpit operations was made following an impromptu visit by Minister within the Ministry, Simona Broomes in May 2018.

Broomes had discovered several safety breaches at the sandpit.

The sheer drop sandpit with unstable overburden at Five Miles, Bartica. (DPI photo)

But the Deputy Mayor contended that the operations were conducted in conformity with all the safety requirements.

She said the only issue was the lack of full-time security which resulted in persons straying into the sandpits, exposing themselves to dangers such as pit cave-ins.

But the Deputy Mayor said this issue has since been addressed and the region is waiting on the authority to allow them to reopen.

“If we can get this resolved immediately it would bring a great relief to the township,” she stated.

Minister Broomes is currently out of the country and unavailable to offer a comment. Her staff at the Ministry told News Room that the Minister is the only authorized person to speak on the issue.

Until the sandpit is reopened, construction in the gateway to the hinterland will remain at a standstill.

To transport sand from locations outside of the township boundaries would attract hefty prices.

News Room understands that some persons who have an abundance of sand in their yards are taking advantage of the situation by selling the resource to those who are willing to buy.

Minister Broomes had also instructed that cease orders be issued to several quarrying sites in the region.

Those orders also have a huge impact on the building and construction sector.

Cease orders have also been issued to sand mining operations along the Linden Soesdyke Highway.

The operations of the Yarrowkabra sandpit are encroaching on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway. (DPI photo)

A sandpit at Yarrowkabra is currently out of operation until the owner complies with certain safety regulation and is up to date with his royalty payments.

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