Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha says he received reports that several of the key drainage structures across the city of Georgetown were without operators, resulting in them being inoperable.
A press release from the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday noted that this is unacceptable given that Guyana is currently at the height of the mid-year rainy season, noting that it displays a clear dereliction of duty on the part of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
Based on the reports, Mustapha was informed that the sluices at South Ruimveldt, La Penitence south and Cowan Street, Kingston were not open while the pumps at Cowan Street, Lamaha Street and Liliendaal were not turned on.
The press release noted that due to the history of ineffective management of Georgetown’s drainage system by the M&CC, a monitoring team was instituted by the ministry to report daily on the operations of the city’s structures.
“Although we monitor these structures, the M&CC is the body in charge of ensuring these structures function effectively. Time and time again we are seeing that this is not the case,” Minister Mustapha was quoted as saying.
“It is a shame that in the height of the rainy season, despite the numerous calls made by the government on several occasions, the M&CC continues to operate in such a manner,” the quote added.
Mustapha said while residents of Georgetown continue to fall victim to instances of flooding due to heavy rainfall, the time it takes for floodwaters to recede is often a result of the ineffective management of the city’s pumps and sluices which fall under the control of the M&CC.
“This blatant neglect is becoming a pattern and it is time for people living in Georgetown who continue to be affected by flooding when these structures are not managed effectively to hold the relevant authorities at the M&CC accountable,” Mustapha said in the release.
The press release noted that the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will continue to monitor the structures in Georgetown and across the country as the Hydromet Department predicts more instances of extensive rainfall over the coming weeks.