Mustapha not ‘taking chances’ with City Hall as rainy season approaches

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A koker in the capital city, Georgetown

With the May/June rainy season approaching, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha says he is not going to depend on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to put systems in place to prevent flooding in the capital city.

In fact, the Agriculture Minister said from Central Government’s end, they will deploy engineers across the city to ensure the pumps and sluices are operable.

“What we have been doing too, around Georgetown area, I’ve asked our engineer to assign three engineers to Georgetown so they can also monitor because over the years, y’all know our problem with the City Council and I’m not taking chances there too. We are having engineers to monitor these pumps, monitor these outfalls, and looking at these sluices so they can report on a real-time basis what are some of the problems we’re having and where we can make interventions,” Mustapha told reporters on Tuesday.

During last year’s May/June rains, accusations of neglect and sabotage were levelled against City Hall after the absence of workers from sluices and pumps led to flooding throughout the city after a night of heavy rainfall.

At the time, Mustapha had explained that, “I received a report that almost all the sluices and pumps in Georgetown were inoperable because the City Council failed to get the operators to put on these pumps and open the sluices. And it seems this is a deliberate ploy to get the city flooded, because over the last two weeks we have seen high intensity of rainfall and we had minimal flooding in the city.”

“It seems they want to cause problems in the city. We know for a fact that the City Council has been neglecting the supervision of these infrastructure in the city. So much so that I had to get NDIA to go around and monitor these pumps and these sluices, to see where they are operable.”

Meanwhile, in further expounding on government’s efforts this year to mitigate the effects of the May/June rains, Mustapha explained works have already begun.

“The May/June season in our country is not a unique season or one-off season. Now, we’re having rainfall, the rainfall would have already started and over the last few months, you know for a fact that we’ve been having pumps and sluices, and desilting of canals in an ongoing basis. So, it’s not a big preparation for May/June. We have been doing this right around the year because we’re having rainfall on a continuous basis. So, what we’ll do, we’ll continue to do those type of work, we have been given instructions to ensure that all the structures are operable, we have things in places in terms of the sluices being serviced, the pumps being serviced, they are on standby to work immediately,” he noted.

Activities are also being undertaken in other areas of the country, the Minister assured.

“The Black Bush Polder area, we’ve started to desilt out there, the outfall is working, but we’re still doing it for the May/June period and we are looking at and other critical aspect of it.”

“Last Saturday, I went up the Corentyne and we had some heavy rainfall on the Corentyne and there was a request for pumps. I’ve moved another pump to Number 52/51 area to boost the system that we have there, so as we are going around seeing the issue, we are making the kind of preparation and putting the system in place so that we can have an effective drainage,” he added.