“I want residents involved” – Pres Ali to South Ruimveldt residents on investment in infrastructure

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President Dr Irfaan Ali with residents in South Ruimveldt, Georgetown

…following impromptu visit to community, consultations with residents

In the wake of an impromptu visit to South Ruimveldt, President Dr Irfaan Ali has promised that investments will be made in South Ruimveldt’s infrastructure, and teams of technical officers and Ministers will return to the area to advance various initiatives.

During his visit to South Ruimveldt, Georgetown, on Saturday, President Ali inspected the infrastructure of the area and consulted with residents on needed improvements. The President walked about the community and inspected drains, roads and the community centre ground, even as he listened to the concerns raised.

“This is not going to be an engineer dictating what the drainage will be. I want you (the residents) to be involved. I’ll ask the engineers… to bring together the residents to have the initial discussions, on the plans that they have.”

“You see if it makes sense and if they need any changes. In the plan, it also speaks about raising the streets. Cause if you raise the streets, (it helps the drainage). And also, the three culverts,” President Ali said.

One of the complaints the President heard was of a road in the community that had deteriorated to the point where it had a hole that posed a threat to commuters. Summoning Public Works Ministry Permanent Secretary Vladim Persaud to his side, President Ali gave the Ministry until next week Friday to fix the issue.

In committing to resolving the long running draining issue affecting the area, President Ali also asked that the Ministers of Housing, Public Works, Local Government and Agriculture along with the Commissioner of Police return to the area next Thursday to advance several projects and initiatives.

The President was joined by Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal, Central Housing and Planning Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sherwyn Greaves and other Government representatives.

A resident pointing to a damaged road in the area on Saturday

Guyana is presently in the midst of persistent rainfall that has caused flooding in several parts of the country. Referencing the 2021 countrywide floods that wiped out farms and resulted in millions of dollars in losses, the Hydrometeorological Office had urged civilians and farmers earlier this year to prepare themselves to encounter torrential downpours during the May-June season.

Flooding was so bad last year that on June 9, 2021, President Ali had declared flooding in the country a level two disaster. All ten administrative regions across the country had experienced flooding, with Regions 10, Seven, Six, Five, and Two being considered the most impacted areas.

In 2021, the PPP/C Government had also embarked on ground works for the construction of replicas of the Hope Canal in at least three other regions across Guyana, to aid with drainage and irrigation and water management in those areas.

The Hope Canal, or Northern Relief Channel, which is located at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara, is a multi-component channel that allows excess water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) to be drained into the Atlantic Ocean via an eight-door sluice, so as to avoid overflowing and possible flooding.

President Ali has said the Hope Canal was instrumental in preventing massive flooding along the East Coast of Demerara during the unprecedented May-June floods, and has announced that similar infrastructure would be constructed in other regions to curb devastating floods. These include Regions Three, Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

The $3.6 billion Hope Canal channel, which was conceptualised under the Bharrat Jagdeo-led Government, was constructed following the 2005 floods, when excessive rainfall compounded by a breach in the embankment had resulted in Regions Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Five (Mahaica-Berbice) experiencing massive flooding, causing significant damage to agricultural and residential areas. After several delays, the project became operational in 2016.