$5B in infrastructural contracts for Reg 3 – Jagdeo
Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) will be the recipient of $5 billion in infrastructural contracts from the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, which is seeking to fix the region’s drainage and flooding woes.
This was revealed by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, during a recent Cabinet outreach to the region. He was accompanied by a number of other Ministers including Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha.
“We have awarded a number of contracts. We have awarded two contracts, with pumping capabilities, about $1.3 billion worth of contracts have been awarded. And they have two huge pumps there, in each of these locations, with capabilities of 240 cubic per second of water. So those would make a big difference here.”
“At Beeline, we’re now working to build a bigger bridge across the road and open up the sluices there. Put in two major new sluice doors there. And then at Patentia, we’re working to expand capabilities there too,” Jagdeo further explained to the residents.
He noted that during previous consultations with farmers, they had said that the YR area is in need of drainage as well. According to Jagdeo, all of this goes towards improving the region’s drainage, which is constantly tested whenever there is heavy rainfall.
“Combined, this will be in excess of $5 billion of infrastructural works, right here in this end, to improve drainage. And already we’ve awarded about $1.3 billion of that. That would help in a major way, to solve the flooding issues we have in these areas,” Jagdeo said.
Guyana is presently in the midst of persistent rainfall that has caused flooding in several parts of the country. One of the worst-hit areas was Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), where persons continue to be severely affected by flooding as a result of the continuous rainfall in recent days coupled with the nearby rivers in Brazil overtopping into the Takutu river.
Referencing the 2021 countrywide floods that wiped out farms and resulted in millions of dollars in losses, the Hydrometeorological Office had urged farmers earlier this year to prepare themselves to encounter torrential downpours during the May-June season.
Flooding was so bad last year that on June 9, 2021, President Dr Irfaan Ali had declared flooding in the country a level two disaster. All ten administrative regions across the country had experienced flooding, with Regions 10, Seven, Six, Five, and Two being considered the most impacted areas.
During last year’s floods, several communities in Region Three were hard hit by floods. This had prompted Minister Mustapha to visit flood-hit communities and the Government had also deployed pumps from other locations to assist the sluices.
In 2021, the PPP/C Government had also embarked on ground works for the construction of replicas of the Hope Canal in at least three other regions across Guyana, to aid with drainage and irrigation and water management in those areas.
The Hope Canal, or Northern Relief Channel, which is located at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara, is a multi-component channel that allows excess water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) to be drained into the Atlantic Ocean via an eight-door sluice, so as to avoid overflowing and possible flooding.
President Ali has said the Hope Canal was instrumental in preventing massive flooding along the East Coast of Demerara during the unprecedented May-June floods, and has announced that similar infrastructure would be constructed in other regions to curb devastating floods. These include Regions Three, Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The $3.6 billion Hope Canal channel, which was conceptualised under the Bharrat Jagdeo-led Government, was constructed following the 2005 floods, when excessive rainfall compounded by a breach in the embankment had resulted in Regions Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Five (Mahaica-Berbice) experiencing massive flooding, causing significant damage to agricultural and residential areas. After several delays, the project became operational in 2016.