Gov’t implementing measures to ease city flooding after City Council neglect
-City Mayor summoned by Ministers
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says the Government is putting systems in place to address flooding in the city.
Minister Mustapha, along with Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Hon. Nigel Dharamlall; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Hon. Deodat Indar and Minister and Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Anand Persaud, met Georgetown Mayor, His Worship, Pandit Ubraj Narine to address the bottlenecks in the city.
Minister Mustapha said investigations revealed that several pumps around Georgetown were turned off on Wednesday evening although there was a forecast of heavy rainfall.
He said the the pumps at Young Street were turned off at 10:43pm, Cowan Street at 9:55pm and Ruimveldt at 8:30pm, Wednesday evening.
Minister Mustapha also said Mayor Narine took no responsibility during their meeting, and it is now up to central government to take the necessary actions to avoid flooding in the city.
“As it stands now, we have implemented a system where we have people checking these places on a 24-hour system and we have real report, fast, as soon as these pumps are not working because as I am speaking now; we are getting report coming in from these areas on which pumps are working and which sluice are working.
So, we will continue to do that until we come up with a proper solution on how we will address this matter because we cannot just go and take over the responsibility of the city and say we take over the drainage system. We have to ensure that they do their work too.”
Minister Mustapha said the Mayor relayed that he is not responsible for the pump attendants, a notion he found strange as the Mayor is ultimately in charge of ensuring that City Council executes its mandate. He said since taking office, the Government has installed three pumps around the city, which are efficiently operated by the Ministry.
“We have hundreds of pumps across this country. We have close to 300 pumps, similar pumps that are placed in the city and we have people working at all these pumps.
These pumps are operated on time; they are serviced on time and they are functionable, and if we could do those different parts of the country, places like Region One and Ten, these areas that we have pump and we are managing it then the city is not a problem for us.”
Meanwhile, the Local Government Minister said it clear that the City Council has abandoned its responsibilities since the PPP/C took office. He said he came to that conclusion after the Mayor pointed out during the meeting that the city had not city had not experienced the current wide-scale flooding prior to last August.
“We see that as sabotaging the work of the Government, but the Government will take the lead and do the heavy lifting. We have a responsibility to the people of this country and that is why the NDIA has invested close to $1 billion already in city drainage in the last 10 months.
The Ministry of Public works and Local Government, we have invested nearly half a billion in the last 10 months to do infrastructural work within the city,” Minister Dharamlall said.
The Minister said the Government will not be intimidated by any attempted sabotage, as it remains committed to developing the city.
Additionally, the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works said despite the Government’s interventions to ease the flooding, the Mayor continues to shirk his responsibilities.
“We have been doing it in Region Nine, where there is an engineering solution, we put one in Region Six where we have flooding, where there is an engineering solution, we put one in Region Five, Region Three, Region Two. Where there is an engineering solution to deal with flooding and irrigation and managing of sluice and putting pumps, we intervene.
In the city of Georgetown, we are not getting that from the Mayor,” Minister Indar said.
Also, the Minister within the Ministry of Local Government said the Mayor was urged to work along with the Government to improve the city’s drainage.
On Tuesday, Georgetown recorded its second highest daily rainfall for the month of June since 1892 amounting to 245.1 millimetres or 9.6 inches of accumulated water.