We must spend where it matters most!

Dear Editor,
There was a recent article in the press stating the cost to complete sea defence works. The cost was close to Gy$1M per metre. The cost of the sea walls in the Netherlands in 1953 was US$2.5B USD for a coastline twice as long as ours. In today’s dollars, that cost is approximately 10 times what it was, and conditions of the sea and climate have also worsened.
This means that, at a minimum, Guyana would have to spend US$12.5B on the sea walls along the coastline – a price that we should be willing to pay to get the job done correctly. In addition, the Dutch also revitalised a system of dikes and dams via the Deltaplan, which covers 3700km and uses windmill pumps to manage the seawater.
Given our consistent coastal winds, the use of these pumps would also be beneficial to our system.
These are all additional costs that must be considered. The results have been stellar, and the Dutch have plans to further improve their sea defence system to prevent flooding. Considering today’s climate change situation, we must keep in mind the current frequency and severity of the flooding that is occurring along our coastline, and restructure the infrastructure and budget strategy to reflect this urgent need. Borrowing against future oil earnings is not out of the question, but those funds must be earmarked for such a project which is focused on building up our sea defences and improving our seawater management system.
This must be given priority over other infrastructure needs. Otherwise, the new roads and new homes would be flooded, defeating the purpose of the investment.
The Dutch engineering and construction firms that were involved in the Netherlands Deltaplan have the experience and capability to develop and implement such a major improvement plan along our coastline; and, as a nation, we should proceed in this direction. Our local businesses, which are in their infancy and entering this type of engineering and construction area, should also be allowed to learn from the Dutch companies chosen to lead this project. Maintenance of the system would be easier as a result of developing this local knowledge.
The current administration has many good intentions, and would like to do many things to help our people, but we must continue to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure that the correct priorities are established. Thus, laying a strong foundation that would eliminate the threat of Climate Change, which is currently the greatest threat faced by our nation.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee