Mahaicony farmers hope sea defence works withstand springtides

Farmers and residents in Mahaicony are putting their faith in the ongoing emergency sea defence works between Dantzig and Fairfield, remaining hopeful that its structural integrity will withstand the upcoming springtide.

Mr. Bertram Robertson, a rice and fruit farmer of Rebecca’s Lust, told DPI the contractors are doing their best to prevent the imminent springtide from heading inland.

With 25 acres lost due to saltwater on his land just last year, Mr. Robertson said, “the sea defence messed we up… me nah gon glad for water come back ah we yard.”

The farmer said the seawater flooded his property, leading to damaged appliances, the death of his livestock and destruction of fruit trees.

Farmer Mr. Dudsley Nobrega suffered similar losses. “All the crops what I had completely wiped out and the soil is still acidic because of the heavy salty content,” he said.  

The farmer also said he has experienced failed crops after last September’s springtides.

“We are hoping that the [emergency] works will be completed on time and be completed in a way that it would improve the situation,” Mr. Nobrega remarked.

Another farmer, Mr. Suresh Balkaran, said the springtides were, “a horrible situation” that that lead to his decision to move his household appliances to safety at a family member in Unity.

With a focus on cash crops, Mr. Balkaran said he is trying to bounce back on his feet to sustain his family. The farmer described the prior sea defence breaches as serious and said, “We are hoping that they [the contractors] are going to finish to a stage so that they can block the water from coming over.”

Over the weekend, Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, visited the breached sites along the foreshore in Mahaicony to conduct an assessment.

The Minister has implored contractors Toolsie Persaud Quarries Incorporated, A & S General Contracting Incorporated, M&B Construction, BK International Incorporated and Colin Talbot Contracting Services to work assiduously to remedy the breaches.

Last month, M&B Contractors were awarded a $168 million contract to execute emergency works along the Mahaicony foreshore.

Over the past two weeks, the Ministry had advertised its Invitation for Bids for nine sea lots of riprap sea defence works in Regions Two, Four, Five and Six.