…says assistance, including from IDB, might be forthcoming following assessment
The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has signaled a readiness to provide some level of assistance to Guyana’s flood hit farmers and residents during the recent countrywide floods even as government has ruled out the idea of any form of compensation being provided by the State anytime soon.
The matter was brought to the fore during Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly and Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan was repeatedly questioned by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Colin Croal.
The opposition MP was at the time looking to query from Minister Bulkan, whether government was looking to provide any compensation to persons that were affected across the 10 Administrative Regions including those where dozens of homes were washed away.
According to Bulkan, Government was still not in a position to give a complete assessment of the situation with regards the extent of the damage across the country since, the reports were still being compiled from across the regions.
The Minister was quick to point out that the IDB has signaled its intention to provide some level of assistance across the south hit South American regions and as Guyana will be looking to work with neighbouring Brazil and with the IDB.
According to Bulkan, the question of compensation by the state is not normally raised in the face of natural disasters. “What will be contemplated and provided is assistance” he said.
He was adamant that government will continue to provide assistance where required and pointed to offers by the Minister of Agriculture to provide planting material and feed stuff.
Bulkan’s attempt to laud government’s reaction to the disaster through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) was quickly met with consternation on the part of the political opposition.
However, Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira’s attempt to intervene saw the Speaker of the House Dr Barton Scotland warning the Parliamentarian.
Teixeira at the time had rose to complain of Bulkan’s evasive answers that centered on government’s immediate support to the flood hit regions and not on the matter of the compensation for those affected.
According to Teixeira, the Minister wants to talk about Climate Change but the PPP/C was interested in how government would be compensating the persons from the more than 65 homes that were washed away.
She was quickly upbraided by Dr Scotland who told her she did not have to like the answers being provided by the Minster and added “Ms Teixeira, you are getting out of order and if you don’t contain yourself I will have to ask you to leave this Chamber.”
Minister Bulkan, was adamant that while compensation is not offered by the state in such situations when a full assessment is had, Government would at that time then be able to make a determination as to whether compensation could be offered.
Unable to provide a timeline for its completion as requested by Croal, the Minister told the House a fuller assessment is still being done and a full determination is not fully known, “but when that information is fully available Government will be better be able to pronounce.”
As far as the recovery phase is concerned according to Bulkan, the phenomenon is not quite over.
He reported that certain parts of country are still subject to heavy rainfall and that the RDCs are compiling and preparing assessment reports.