PRESS RELEASE PNCR LEADER VISITS DE HOOP, MAHAICA, REGION # 5 – DISCOVERS CHAOS IN FLOOD RELIEF OPERATION People’s National Congress Reform Congress Place, Sophia. Georgetown, Guyana May 23, 2005

The Leader of the People's National Congress Reform and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin MP, was able to confirm the accuracy of PNCR statements on the Flood Relief operation when he visited farming communities in the Mahaica Creek, Branch Road, including De Hoop on Saturday, May 21, 2005. He was accompanied by Ms. Amna Ally MP, Ms. Supriya Singh, Central Executive Member and Director of the Party’s Communications Unit, Ms. Terianna Bisnauth, Member of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM), Ms. Carol Joseph, Regional Secretary of Region # 5, Mr. Wilfred Gravesande, Regional Councilor and Mr. Prince Pompey, Party Representative in Region 5.

Farmers and other members of the community informed the Opposition Leader that reports to the effect that all of the residents of the community had received flood relief was far from accurate. Members of the community said that only on Friday last they had to travel as far as Burma to receive their Flood Relief cheques but, for varying reasons several farmers were unable to obtain their cheques even though they had been registered. Some were told by representatives of the Planning, Recovery and Implementation Secretariat that their names were not listed while others were told to return as their names were spelt incorrectly. This was a matter of grave concern as their ID cards were seen by officials during the assessment. Rice farmers explained that those who received relief were able to uplift $25,000 per household plus $10,000 per acre of rice lost up to 80 acres. However, while some bona fide farmers received the promised sum several did not. The shocking discovery however was that In the particular case of the rice farmers, the Party Leader and his delegation heard that some of them got a bag of seed paddy and their cheques. This was not true for all of them. The cash crop farmers did not receive any flood relief.

What seemed to exercise the community was the fact that there was discrimination in favour of some residents who got more than the standard monetary compensation. The farmers on the whole told Mr. Corbin that they were glad that he was able to visit the area as he would be able to represent them in Parliament and in other fora. They express the belief that the Leader of the Opposition could be effective in prosecuting their cause and bringing their plight to the attention of the relevant International Financial Institutions.

There are several aspects of the community which were of concern to the PNCR Leader and his delegation as expressed by the residents of the area:

 The Crown Dam in this particular area is breaking away.
 The dams are not being serviced.
 The Perth Canal needs urgent and effective cleaning.
 The dam linking Biaboo to Perth needs urgent repair.
 Handsome Tree and Biaboo are under water.
 The roads in the community are in the most unsatisfactory condition.
 About ten to fifteen rice mills in the area which can only be reached by heavy trucks and tractors and as a consequence the deterioration of the roads and dams has accelerated.

The farmers also explained that although they pay Rates and Taxes they end up cleaning the trenches themselves even though this falls within the ambit of responsibilities of the RDC and NDC. In general, the residents of the area suffered from the flooding and this had an adverse impact on their livelihood and their day to day existence.

The Party leader undertook to bring to the attention of the plight of the residents of the area to the attention of the relevant Minister and Institutions of the Government.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia.
Georgetown, Guyana
May 23, 2005