Gov’t to spend over $300 million for more sea, river defence works in Regions 3, 5 and 6

The government has set aside approximately $311 million to strengthen sea and river defence structures in regions three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), five (Mahaica Berbice) and six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

Bids have been opened for these works, which have been divided into 25 lots.

In Region Three, several areas on Leguan Island will see maintenance works on the earthen embankments, including Windsor Estate, Cornelia, Blenheim, Henrietta, Richmond Hill, Maryville, Success and Enterprise. The aggregated estimated cost of these works is $137 million. This will provide much-needed security for farmers who rely on these protected lands for their livelihoods.

Similar upgrades are slated for Region Six, in areas such as Borlam, Caracas, Lochaber, No. 67 Village Orealla, Siparuta, Plegt Anker and Moleson Creek, at an estimated $141.6 million.

Communities in Region Five will also benefit from these upgrades, specifically in Weldaad, Jacoba, No.28 Village, and Farm.

Some $31.8 million is estimated to cover these works.

Given the importance of sturdy sea defence structures to safeguard homes and farmlands, the government has taken an aggressive approach to monitoring and upgrading existing structures, in addition to erecting new ones.

As a result of this rigorous approach and the volume of work that was completed, there were no reports of major sea or river defence breaches in 2023.

During his end-of-year press conference last year, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill said that some 5.5 kilometres (km) of new flood defence structures were completed, while 65 km of existing structures were rehabilitated and maintained in 2023.

“When we build sea and river defences, it means that we have more lands that are available for people to plant. It means we have more families that can go into poultry, we have more for people to develop their houses. So, what we do in sea and river defences keep the water out, but link that with what happens to people’s lives and the confidence that they can have now to invest, build and develop,” the minister had said.

Additionally, this year the Sea and River Defence Board is boosting its efforts to enhance coastal monitoring and data management capabilities. Drones have been employed to improve the surveillance ability, in addition to the regular deployment of rangers to inspect the structures.

Bids for these works will be opened at the ministry’s Wight Lane office on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.