West Bank Demerara sluice operators face punishment for flood

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 May 2021, 20:38 by Denis Chabrol

Two West Bank Demerara sluice operators, who did not turn up for duty to close a sluice door at Vreed-en-Hoop are to be punished if they are found guilty of negligence, officials said Sunday.

Top Region Three administrators said residents and businesses located at Vreed-en-Hoop/ Plantain Walk area, West Bank Demerara were flooded early Sunday morning because the sluice operators were not on duty.

Junior Public Works Minister, Deodat Indar said an excavator was deployed to close the door under the pressure of the Demerara River high tide and pumps were used to discharge as much of the water back into the river. He said residents’ small-scale poultry and vegetable cultivations were affected.

Mr. Indar said the sluice operators would face disciplinary action. “Obviously, the Regional Administration would have to institute disciplinary action against those two persons because it resulted in significant damage to livestock and property,” he said.

The Minister said the flood due to the opened sluice door compounded the accumulation of water caused by heavy rainfall for several hours overnight Saturday.

On the issue of disciplinary action against the sluice operators, the Region Three Executive Officer, Jagnarine Somwar said the public service rules would be followed strictly to avoid any questions being raised. “The public service rules are clear-cut and we will follow guidelines. The disciplinary action will be enforced against those who are negligent of their duty but we will be practicing the public service rules so we are not going to willy-nilly make decisions that will cause issues later,” he said.

The Regional Chairman said the two sluice workers would be summoned to the Regional Executive Officer’s office and the “necessary guidelines” would be invoked and the “necessary action will be taken.”

Mr. Somwar said the rangers reported that the sluice operators did not report for duty on Sunday morning and when he went to the sluice he did not see them although he had spent a long time there. “It would seem at this point in time- I don’t want to preempt any thing- but it would seem at this point in time that they probably felt guilty and so they were not on the scene,” the Regional Executive Officer said.