The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has been actively seeking to refute the contention of the PNCR that the flood situation in Guyana is a serious one, as set out in the Party’s weekly Press Statement of May 31st. Yet reports in the official and other sections of the media confirm the accuracy of the Party’s assessment of the flood situation.

President Jagdeo visited the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) on May 29th. It was reported in the Guyana Chronicle of May 30th that “the water level by Monday had risen to 58 GD and President Jagdeo told reporters this level in the Conservancy is “starting to worry us significantly.”” A 58 GD level is regarded by experts as dangerous. Clearly rattled by this situation the Chairman of the NDIA rushed to the EDWC and, according to a report in the same issue of the Guyana Chronicle, he claimed that there was a drop in the level of the Conservancy “the average level varying from 57.8 inches to 55.2 inches in various sections of the Conservancy.” In view of these two conflicting sets of information, the Party is faced with an unenviable choice of choosing between the veracity of the President of the Republic and a Department of his Government.

Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Robert Persaud too in his effort to cover up the fact that he has misled the nation to believe that preparations had been made for the heavy rainfall and consequent flooding, is merely confirming that the PNCR was quite accurate in stating that the Government was caught below the level of events and in fact was unprepared for the flooding. The Guyana Chronicle of June 1st, 2007 reported that the Minister of Agriculture had gone to the EDWC to receive two long boom excavators. The official paper reported that “the acquisition of the two machines was part of a master plan for the EDWC recommended that by local and foreign Engineers during the disastrous 2005 floods and Parliament had approved the purchases last year.” The PNCR also said in its Press Statement that the Government had done nothing to improve the relief capacity of the EDWC as recommended by ECLAC after the floods of 2005. The PNCR notes that in the issue of the Guyana Chronicle already referred to, Mr. Persaud is quoted as saying that “the Government sees the need for another main discharge outlet from the EDWC, either to the Demerara River or the Atlantic Ocean and was mulling this possibility with the cost and source of funding as major considerations.”

The Party must therefore conclude that any further comment on the preparations of the Government for the floods would be otiose.

As a responsible political Party the PNCR must ask the Government and its agencies to be candid and forthright with the people of Guyana as they are dealing with the existence of a nation and the lives of its citizens.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Friday, June 01, 2007