Letter on Victoria drainage contains inaccuracies
Published: December 29, 2008 in Letters
In response to a letter appearing in the Stabroek News dated December 27,
captioned 'Little effort made to alleviate the flood sufferings of Victoria'
written by Desmond Saul, I would like to address several inaccuracies
It is important to note from the outset that Guyana, like many parts of the
world, is experiencing unprecedented weather patterns fuelled by climate
change resulting in periods of extreme high-intensity rainfall.
Further, drainage in the Victoria areas is managed at the local level by the
Neighbourhood Democratic Council and the Regional Democratic Council. The
National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) which usually undertakes
works in the primary system is always open to recommendations and
constructive criticism, and in fact, has had a number of engagements with Mr
Saul. However, a number of the writer's assertions smack of a deliberate
attempt to mislead the public by insinuating that certain communities are
being intentionally neglected and deprived of interventions needed to remove
water from the land caused by the historic level of rainfall.
It is also ironic that Mr Saul would claim the NDIA's actions have
contributed to flooding when there were two occasions when an individual
tampered with drainage structures in the Belfield/Victoria area which
resulted in flooding.
In fact the intervention of the Regional Chairman was sought on one occasion
at the start of the rainy season.
The facts are as follows: at the start of the rainy season dredging of
critical primary drainage systems commenced at Greenfield, Belfield and
Sluices at Victoria and Golden Grove were put into operation and all
drainage structures were activated to release accumulated water.
An excavator and dragline were used to clean pump basins at Victoria, while
33 miles of canals and drains were rehabilitated between Victoria (a
community the writer falsely claims was neglected) and Golden Grove. As this
letter is being prepared, an excavator is in the community carrying out
emergency works to a tampered dam and the NDIA dredge is desilting the
Victoria Sluice outfall.
Mr Saul claims that all drainage water from surrounding villages flows into
Victoria and that this community is the lowest point in the area, hence, the
reason for continuous flooding. These claims are misguided and ill-informed
since records from the Guyana Lands and Surveys department indicate that the
areas of Annandale, Buxton and Friendship have an average height of 50.70gd
while the Craig, Victoria, Hope, Enmore areas have an average height of
51.25gd. The notion therefore that Victoria is the lowest point when
compared to neighbouring communities is a figment of the writer's
Additionally, a Water Users' Association and Community Development Council
(CDC) group operates in the Golden Grove/ Victoria communities, which
provides for continuous monitoring and maintenance of drainage systems on a
day-to-day basis. Is Mr Saul accusing these community-based groups of
depriving their own drainage?
It is also important to note that the NDIA undertakes drainage and
irrigation works based on technical advice and the availability of
resources, and remains committed to the maintenance and upgrading of all D&I
systems under its purview.
There is no other consideration and the track record of the body speaks for