Mahaicony sea defence collapses yet again; $145m to fix breach


A new section of the sea defence structure at Mahaicony on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) has collapsed and will cost the Government $145M to fix according to Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill.

The breach of 100 meter of the sea defence – Content (West of Dantzig Dam) –has once again placed livestock and cash crop farmers in turmoil as their lands are flooded with salt water from the Atlantic Ocean.

During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Minister Edghill noted that the contract was taken up by BK International which was conducting works a short distance from the new breach. The funding will be diverted from the ongoing contract to cover the emergency works pending approval of the 2020 National Budget.

“Since we have a contract that was already awarded to BK international and the monies were not all paid out, I think it was just about $105M that was already paid from a $352M contract, monies from that contract will be used in an emergency manner to deal with this new 100-meter breach,” the Minister said.

“The reality is how the sea defences are situated, even if you wanted to put in a next contractor that is not currently mobilized on the site…you’re talking about an impossibility,” Minister Edghill explained.

Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill

From July 2019 and onwards, several sections of the sea defence structure at Dantzig Mahaicony, ECD has collapsed causing destruction of acres of farmlands.

Edghill criticized the former Government’s handling of the situation which led to the breach increasing from a 200 meter to over 5km.

“God knows what transpired as it relates to the management of sealing that breach and a 200m breach ended up being 5km +,” he noted.

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in a flood alert on Wednesday said approximately 30 persons are affected by the flooding in the area.

The CDC said it deployed a team to conduct rapid assessments in collaboration with the Regional Democratic Council, Neighbourhood Democratic Council and Ministry of Social Services; with the latter providing temporary shelter to the displaced residents.

Further assessments and remedial work are currently underway.

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