Residents of Waiakabra, Linden-Soesdyke Highway are calling on the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) to pay a much-needed visit to the community and answer questions about the condition of the tap water they are being forced to consume, as there is no alternative source of water for the community.
Residents describe the condition of the water as “ unacceptable” and “inhumane” and after several weeks of calling and making reports, they are still to receive a visit or any sort of intervention from the water company.
The community is mainly populated by Amerindians who depend on small-scale farming for their daily bread and cannot afford to purchase water for consumption. Guyana Times visited the community on Saturday and spoke to a few residents who expressed dissatisfaction with the way they are being treated by the Administration.
Leon DaSilva, who shared his concerns with this publication, said that over the years, the community has been overlooked by the Administration. “Year go year come, is the same thing. We never had tap water in the past and now that we get it … look the condition. You can’t even bathe with it, much more wash or cook, so what purpose is it really serving?” he asked. He added that every month, the residents have to pay their bills on time, as failure to do so would result in their water being disconnected instantly. This, he said, is unfair since they are paying for second-class service, which is of no benefit to them.
“We are citizens of this country just like anybody else. Town people does go on TV and carry on, but nobody comes on the Highway. Nobody cares about anybody up here…but by the time your bill late, they coming to disconnect,” the frustrated DaSilva said.
Another resident, Leana Melville, who also spoke to this publication, said that the condition of the water was becoming worse. She said residents had previously complained of the stench of the water and oil which is usually settled on top. “Since we started getting water, it’s always an issue. All the while we were still using the water, because it wasn’t this bad. It was stink and very oily, but it didn’t have this colour and it wasn’t so bad. But now we definitely can’t use it,” she said.
The mother of four notes she is forced to purchase bottled water for her children to use, because the water they are receiving through the tap is not safe for consumption. “To be honest, we can’t use the water to do anything. A few days ago, I was trying to strain it with a cloth, but that didn’t work. There is thick rust in the water. And that would do more harm than good to anybody,” she added.
The residents called for officials from GWI to pay an urgent visit to the community and carry out an inspection to ascertain the cause of the problem and to make efforts to remedy the situation and bring relief to the residents.
“We’re begging GWI to come and see how best they can fix this water situation for us. It is unacceptable, man. We are humans … we need to have a basic safe supply of water. We have children and we can’t afford to buy water. We are poor people and there aren’t any job opportunities up here. They can come themselves to see the condition under which we live,” one resident said.
Meanwhile, when Guyana Times contacted GWI Public Relations Officer Leanna Bradshaw, she said she was unaware of the situation and could not offer a comment. She committed to making enquiries and updating this publication; however, efforts to make contact with her subsequently proved futile.