By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com]–Shadow Local Government Minister, Ronald Bulkan has blamed the government for the Koker collapse which occurred last Wednesday afternoon; flooding the villages of Peter’s Hall, Providence and Nandy Park along the East Bank of Demerara.
According to Bulkan, the unfortunate incident was “entirely preventable”; adding that it could have been avoided had there been a functional local government system.
“In the absence of functional local governments system and having to deal with a system that is at the point of near total collapse we have lost our first line of defence,” Bulkan told reporters this morning, Friday, October 10.
He says the incident points to “criminal neglect” on the Government’s part.
A team of opposition Members of Parliament, headed by Bulkan, toured the affected areas yesterday morning.
Reporting on the visit today, the Shadow Local Government Minister reminded that with Guyana’s coast a few feet below sea level, Kokers are a vital part of keeping the ocean and river out from the land.
“This must be a priority… to protect the integrity of the land and citizens and their livelihood,” he added.
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) yesterday installed stop logs to reduce flooding from the breached koker but some residents along with Bulkan are not satisfied with the course of action taken.
“It’s not an act of nature as I heard some government officials saying, making reference to tsunamis in Thailand; this is a manmade problem,” he vented; adding that “a koker door is not science or even high engineering, it is something basic… this points to neglect and callousness on part of central government for allowing something like this to happen.”
He said it was devastating to see the suffering which has resulted from the “neglect.”
“If we care about protecting people’s lives and properties there should have been doors built and waiting for such eventualities.”
He reiterated that the failure to have a functional local government system was responsible even as he reiterated his Party’s call for the President to announce a date for the holding of local government elections.