by Samuel Sukhnandan
Government is now working to address another sea defence breach at Dantzig, Mahaicony Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) which has led to massive flooding in the community.
This was revealed by Minister of Public Works Mr. Juan Edghill who said Wednesday that he has engaged the permanent secretary and other technical staff within his ministry, to arrange for emergency works to commence most immediately.
“Residents in the community are currently flooded. Farmers, poultry rearers and businesses and families have been severely affected,” he explained.
The Minister said repairs to this area could cost some GYD$145 million and that BK International Inc. has been identified to do the job.
That company has been already awarded a GYD$352 million contract to repair 500 meters of breached sea defence between Dantzig and Content in Mahaicony, but during a recent visit by the ministry, it was discovered that no significant movement has been made on the project.
In seeking to defend the decision to hire BK International Inc. to conduct repairs to another breached area along that sea defense, Minister Edghill claimed that the company was already mobilized in the area and is the closest contractor to carry out the emergency repairs.
“Since we had a contract awarded to BK and the monies not all paid out only GYD$105 million paid from GYD$352 million contract, monies will be used in an emergency manner to deal with the new breach. How the sea defense is situated, even if you want to put another contractor for the emergency work, you’re talking about an impossibly,” he explained.
Less than two weeks ago, Junior Minister of Public Works Mr. Deodat Indar visited the breached sea defence site which includes Content, Mahaicony where he met with representatives from both BK International Inc. and A&S General Contractors Inc. who were tasked with sealing the breached sections of sea defence.
Minister Indar decried the lengthy duration of the project, which he reminded, has cost millions in losses to farmers along the embankment.
During the press conference, Mr. Indar also supported the decision to hire BK International Inc and noted that the contractor is at a location which is closer to the affected area. “We need to appreciate that the time to mobilize is a key element because we may have 100 meters now, but in a couple of days that could extend,” he added.
The stretch of sea defence has been eroding for some time. The breach in the sea defence poses a threat to over 1,500 acres of rice fields and several livestock farms. Farmers said the breaches lie along the sea defence between Dantzig and Fairfield and approximately eight sections have broken away along the stretch.
It is estimated that 400 households across 65 coastal communities have been affected by the sea defence breach caused by spring tide during September 26 to October 2.