Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on Thursday urged BK International and A&S General Contractors Inc. to complete the fixing of the sea defence at Content/ Dantzig, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara (ECD) in a timely manner.
The contractors have been working on a span of sea defence at Dantzig since July 2019 when the dam which separates the drainage and irrigation canal from the Atlantic Ocean collapsed and flooded acres of farm lands.
However, as one section nears completion, another section collapses during the spring tide leading to a 5 km breach in the area.
Edghill believes that the contractors are moving too slow and during a visit to Region Five on Thursday, he warned that this must not continue.
“I’ll like to take this opportunity as well to say to the two contractors that are there working now that 5km section that is under construction, the people are expecting these contracts to be delivered in a timely manner and we will not tolerate delays and excuses because when works are given of this nature, contractors know the condition under which they work,” the Minister said during a meeting in the community.
At the weekend, another 100 meter of sea defence was breached at Content/ Dantzig and the Ministry had initially agreed to have BK International to complete those emergency works.
This was decided after contractors advised that there is only one dam leading to the area which will prevent access from another contractor.
But the Minister after Thursday’s visit, said a third contractor will be engaged and will use the ocean to transport boulders and whatever is needed to fix the problem.
“Another contractor will be engaged for the sealing of that breach while the works are ongoing,” Edghill said noting that this move will allow BK to complete its ongoing works in a timelier manner.
“Since I am here…listening to you the residents and observing and listening what is being done to the 5km already under construction and where we are on that, we have seen that there is a possibility that another contractor can be mobilized both with equipment and materials to get to work to seal that breach because ultimately you are the ones that are suffering,” he promised the residents.
Residents complained of losses incurred over the past year as the sea defence breach is a recurring problem.
“One year pass and the first breach ain’t fix as yet,” one farmer said.
“The livestock perishing, the rice all ah perish…there is nothing else we can do here other than cash crop, rice and livestock farming,” he added.
One woman pointed out that “this is not the first time we have flooding, we have a lot of family here and they can’t do anything because the salt water coming and destroying everything and people are not working.”
The News Room visited the area in 2019 where farmers complained of millions in losses; some have even migrated since the destruction of their crops.
The Minister told the residents that compensation will be arranged through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) after a meeting.
The Minister was accompanied by Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal and others.