Farmers of Canal Number One Polder, West Bank Demerara are now counting their losses, incurred from their farms having been inundated for almost three weeks. They contend that the flooding could have been avoided had the Regional Authorities paid attention to their pleas for help.
Eighty-seven-year-old farmer Dharamdeo Singh, speaking on behalf of a group of farmers in L’Esperance, Canal Number One Polder, said their farms have been under water for over three weeks, and they had made representation to both the Canals Polder Neighbourhood Democratic Council and the Regional Democratic Council, but to no avail.
This citrus farmer has said that more than 15 acres of his citrus trees are on the brink of dying. He explained that the flooding could have been avoided had the Water Users Association not burst the dam to install large tubes.
“We are asking the Water Users Association to remove those two tubes from there as early as possible. It is at the Façade, and they burst the dam that does control the trench water and put the tube, so when the water raise it shub it pon we, and that is our plight,” he explained.
Singh said he met with the Water Users Association and regional officials on Wednesday where it was related that nothing could be done to assist them as yet. He added that Regional Executive Officer Dennis Jaikaran had promised to visit the affected communities some two weeks ago, but to date that visit is yet to materialise.
The senior citizen further related that follow-up visits to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) were unsuccessful.
“The REO, he is hiding from us. He making promises, saying that he coming to see us for two weeks now, and I think they should move him from there and put somebody else who can handle the job. I don’t know what is the Government doing…I begging them to remove the REO from there and put somebody else, and we think we will get satisfaction with the movement,” Singh said.
Farmers have also said that the current contractor cleans the main access canal haphazardly. They explained that the canal is laden with “shrimp moss,” which affects the flow of water, and that the contractor neglects that. The farmers also said that they were told by the NDC Chairman that the NDC is bankrupt, and no assistance could be rendered.
Cash crop farmer Morlene (only name given) told this publication her entire farm is under water, and she has incurred losses amounting to over half of a million dollars.
“We, the farmers here, we punishing real bad here. I lost 1,500 root of sweet pepper, all dead. Them really need to move the two tubing them have at the Façade and clean the canal better,” she said.
Another farmer, Doodnauth Singh, said his entire pineapple field has been under water as high as three feet for the past two weeks. He said his pineapples have withered and his cattle have had to relocate to higher ground to access feed.
“The last time we had flood I lost all the pine, and now is the same thing. Them people got to get themselves together and clean up the canal and so! I don’t live here, but my farm here, so I spend most of the time here,” he related.
Collectively, the farmers reiterated their call for the REO to give up his chair, since he has done nothing to alleviate their sufferings.
Just last December, the residents of Canals Polder experienced a devastating period of flooding resulting in millions of dollars in losses. Government is yes to assist those farmers, and then this current flooding came just as they were getting back on their feet.
Efforts to contact Regional Executive Officer Dennis Jaikaran proved futile.
FL1- Dharamdeo Singh’s son Roopnarine shows the water in their citrus farm
FL3- The “Shrimp Moss” taking over the main drainage canal
FL4 – A flooded yard in Canal Number One
FL5– Dharamdeo Singh