Drainage, security, infrastructure issues raised at Region 3 meetings

President Dr Irfaan Ali engaging residents during the outreach at Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara

An outreach to Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) led by President Dr Irfaan Ali has given assurances to residents that current issues will be addressed, especially as it relates to drainage, security and infrastructure.

The Head of State was accompanied by Minister within the Public Works Ministry Deodat Indar on Saturday and held a series of community meetings as they listened to complaints and problems facing residents. At the Hugh Anderson Sports Complex in Goed Fortuin, the President said that his Government’s objective is to create positive change.

Ali said that the Government is working on the creation of a new outfall on the West Bank of Demerara to enhance drainage in the area. According to him, it will be similar to Hope Canal and would ensure that water flows rapidly out of rain-affected communities.

Scores of persons turned up at Good Fortuin to participate and share their concerns

Additionally, he affirmed that the area would be massively transformed with enhanced infrastructure, job opportunities and developmental projects being implemented. The President also listened to the concerns of the residents and made on-the-spot solutions.

Meanwhile, commitments were made to provide Good Fortuin with a Police outpost to curb crime, and to examine the squatting area for possible construction of footpaths. Second Street, Good Fortuin is slated for full reconstruction and a mobile pump will be installed at the community’s sluice to improve drainage.

Hours after, the team also facilitated consultations with residents from Blankenburg and Hague on concerns affecting their communities. Solutions were provided for matters relating to roadworks, drainage, and construction of revetments.

Warning to contractor

President Ali issued a stern warning to the contractor executing a $157M road project at Hague Backdam to complete the project within the stipulated timeframe or otherwise face sanctions.

Residents from both communities commended the PPP/C Government for its investment in the execution of drainage works. Guyana is now experiencing the rainy reason, which typically prolongs until June.

A West Demerara resident raising concerns during the outreach led by President Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday

As usual, the forecast for this period indicates that the highest rainfall totals and the possibility of flash floods during this season are expected to peak in the months of May and June. The highest amount of rainfall, according to the Hydromet Office, would be expected in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). However, all other regions are still to expect higher than normal rainfall values.

According to the seasonal forecast issued, rainfall amounts, and frequency are expected to increase as the season progresses.

In Budget 2023, the Government had signalled that this year would see, among other things, a major shift to community building and improving infrastructure, which would include massive spending on community roads and drainage systems.

Since the beginning of May, Guyana has been subjected to increased rainfall. However, this has not resulted in any major accumulation of water or flooding. The last major occurrence of inundation was in June 2021, where torrential rains resulted in mass flooding countrywide. Over 50,000 households were affected.

These engagements follow a larger Presidential Outreach earlier in March where hundreds of issues facing residents of Region Three were addressed, where persons had lauded the swift response to have their concerns heard and remedied. At that time, a majority of the issues resolved related to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), housing, and other matters at the regional level.