Mayor Narine blames City Engineer for flooding

Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine

Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine on Monday blamed City Engineer Colvern for the poor monitoring of sluices in light of recent flooding in the capital city.

It was informed at the statutory meeting that the Local Government Commission had written the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, seeking clarity on workers that are underperforming and thereby contributing to inundation.

Acting Town Clerk Sherry Jerrick said the Commission requested information on what actions would be taken with regard to future flooding. She had responded and was called to a meeting, accompanied by the City Treasurer, Solid Waste Management Director and the City Engineer.

Coming out of that meeting, Jerrick told the Council, “The committee would have requested the submission of three documents which are to be submitted by Friday. One is the work programme to monitor the visitation to the kokers and pumps. That work schedule should include the names of the persons who are working at those locations, the officers doing visitations and the shifts in which they are assigned.”

Narine then questioned whether a visitation schedule was prepared by the City Engineer following the flooding situation and subsequent visits to sluices that were made by President Dr Irfaan Ali.

He then lamented, “What is the City Engineer doing then? Immediately the City Engineer should get his team and put together a roster so that this week, this engineer will be visiting; next week, that engineer, like that…You have the Local Government Commission asking for these documents, which I believe very strongly that a Head of Department should know how to run a department and what system and strategy they could use.”

The Mayor added that he would have also visited some of the sluices, which were plagued with operation and structural issues. For this, he called on Venture to “get to work”.

“It is very, very important that the City Engineer get to work and deal with these issues because I visited the sluice recently and I found there are issues with the doors and I documented those things. I put in the form of a letter to deal with those matters. We have to put our act together.”

Guyana is faced with severe rainfall in several parts of the country and according to information from the Hydrometeorological Service, this will continue until mid-August.

Just two weeks ago, President Dr Irfaan Ali instructed Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall to review all contracts relating to drainage and irrigation (D&I) services including maintenance of pumps, sluices and kokers with the aim of imposing penalties against contractors who are in breach of their obligations.

This move came on the heels of him weeks prior embarking on spontaneous visits to several kokers and sluices in and outside Georgetown during which he found one pump attendant sleeping, the koker doors closed and the pumps off.

During a recent meeting with Government Ministers on the flood situation, Mayor Narine has refused to accept blame for the citywide flooding.