Accusations of neglect and sabotage have been levelled against the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC), as the absence of workers from sluices and pumps has led to flooding throughout the city after a night of heavy rainfall.
According to Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, the M&CC’s neglect of these pumps and sluices was such that as the Minister, he had to step in and order the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to monitor these infrastructures.
“Around three this morning I received a report that almost all the sluices and pumps in Georgetown were inoperable because the City Council failed to get the operators to put on these pumps and open the sluices. And it seems this is a deliberate ploy to get the city flooded, because over the last two weeks we have seen high intensity of rainfall and we had minimal flooding in the city.”
“It seems they want to cause problems in the city. We know for a fact that the City Council has been neglecting the supervision of these infrastructure in the city. So much so that I had to get NDIA to go around and monitor these pumps and these sluices, to see where they are operable,” Mustapha said in an interview while inspecting the situation in the city.
According to Mustapha, the situation is very concerning and he is disappointed in the lack of commitment displayed by the City Council in preventing flooding at a time when heavy rainfall is expected with the May-June rainy season.
“This is a deliberate ploy to flood out the city. And the City Council must take full responsibility for it. Because as I’m speaking here, many areas in Georgetown are under water. And this is as a direct result of the non-operation of this infrastructure.”
“The pumps and the sluices. I’m hoping we can get a fast drainage of the city. Because we, from the NDIA and Cabinet Ministers, are fully monitoring the situation in Georgetown,” Mustapha explained.
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill was also on the ground monitoring the situation. He claimed that his personal attempts to contact Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, as well as the Chief City Engineer, have been futile.
“It is a fact that we had heavy rainfall overnight, but we’ve had heavy rainfall last week. But a check from our Cabinet Task Force found that most the pump attendants were not in place to have the pumps running. They slept away,” Edghill revealed.
“And this morning (Sunday), I’m assessing what happened to households and personally checking to ensure all the pumps and sluices are up and running so that the water can get off the land… the tide has now turned and we should have all the sluices up and flowing, but the pumps should have been running while the sluice doors were closed. And that did not happen.”
According to Edghill, this is neglect on the part of the M&CC. However, he made it clear that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government will do its utmost to have the water in the capital city drained as fast as possible.
“We are a Government that takes care of the people. So, when you have this situation, politics is not the issue. Humanity is the issue. People are suffering and we’re going to go into South to get a first-hand assessment of what is happening in South. Because they’re heavily flooded. But we have to get the water off. That’s the priority now.”
Guyana is faced with severe rainfall in several parts of the country and according to information from the Hydrometeorological Service, heavy rainfall will likely continue over the next few days. A number of communities in Guyana, especially those in low-lying and riverine areas, are currently flooded, due to heavy rainfall.