Gov’t to assume supervision of City pumps, sluices


The government on Thursday said it would assume active monitoring of the operations of the city’s drainage pumps and sluices after accusing the Georgetown Mayor and City Council of deliberately lapsing in supervising the operations of the structures, leading to repeated flooding in the capital.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, and Ministers Nigel Dharamlall, Anand Persaud and Deodat Indar called a meeting with Mayor Ubraj Narine, his deputy Alfred Mentore and other city officials at the Ministry of Agriculture; afterwards, Mustapha said the Mayor and the City Council washed his hands of any responsibility in ensuring the pump and sluice attendants do their job.

This comes after the City was Wednesday again flooded after a period of heavy rainfall. The media was not privy to the meeting and when approached for a comment, the Mayor refused.

He said “the media know how to contact me” and subsequently left the building.

Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine

The Agriculture Minister, however, sought to provide details to the media and claimed the Mayor took no responsibility for the management or lack thereof of the City’s drainage structures.

“To our dismay, we have seen that the supervision of these equipment and the operators left a lot to be desired because the City Council is abdicating their responsibility,” Mustapha said.

“They are not supervising these people and it seems like these equipment are being left to the operators…whenever they want to work, they work it.”

According to the minister, the Mayor said “the technical people (are) responsible for the supervision and if they can’t supervise, well he doesn’t have much to do.”

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

Mustapha expressed disappointment as he explained that the government boosted the City’s drainage capacity with three additional drainage pumps to ensure that the flooding is controlled.

What the City Council has to do is to ensure that the pumps are operational when needed and report to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) on any malfunctions. But even this was not done.

According to the minister, on Wednesday no report was received from the City Council despite three pumps not being in operation. He said that while works were quickly executed to ensure that those were fixed, checks were made later in the evening and another issue was discovered.

He said that three of the City pumps and sluice were shut.

“To our dismay, when we sent out our technical people, three of the pumps and sluices were shut off at Young Street, at Cowan Street – the pump we repaired yesterday (Wednesday) was shut off – and at Ruimveldt South. Those pumps were shut and you had heavy extensive rainfall in the City.”

Mustapha said when these were raised with the Mayor, there was “no proper answer.”

Now, the Agriculture, Public Works and Local Government ministries will assume the responsibility of monitoring drainage and irrigation in the capital, despite this being the job of the City Council.

To this, Mustapha explained: “The Mayor said that he don’t have to supervise those employees, that he has his administration.

“So I asked him the rhetorical question, ‘who supervises the administration?’

“We didn’t have a proper answer for that too.”

The Agriculture Minister said that the City has enough drainage structures to prevent any occurrence of flooding.

Had those systems been in operation, the City would not have been inundated, he said.

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