Lack of infrastructure facilities impacting Pomeroon riverine communities

first_imgDear Editor,On April 5, it was reported in the State media that Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson, who was accompanied by Regional Councillor Juilian Cummings, visited the Pomeroon riverine communities of Friendship and Martindale to address concerns affecting the livelihood and wellbeing of residents, particularly the clogged canals which were adversely affecting ingress and egress to their homesteads.Over the years, these neglected communities have suffered from the lack of basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, potable water and sewage disposal. Therefore, the people should not delude themselves into thinking that, from Minister Ferguson’s visit, anything substantial will be done anytime soon to improve their lot, since the Govt. has no development plan for this considered backwater area.However, it’s worth a try for them to seek assistance from the State, as they do not have the financial/technical resources to do much of the “heavy lifting” required to improve their communities, nor the political clout to effect the necessary changes.Firstly, the Government should be requested, through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, to provide a dragline/excavator to clear the clogged canals of silt and vegetation. This would enable residents to get their produce to market, their children to school, and their sick to the hospital in a timely manner.Secondly, the cultivated areas should be empoldered to prevent flooding from excessive rainfall, runoff from adjoining lands, and overtopping from the Pomeroon River.Next, the Government should provide low-interest loans for residents to buy solar-generated electricity for their homes, which is cost-effective vis-a-vis diesel-generated electricity. Loans should also be provided to assist the residents to purchase 400/500- gallon PVC tanks to store rainwater for their domestic use. A pit latrine designed with the help of the local sanitary inspector could take care of waste disposal. If adequate financial resources later become available, the pit latrine could be upgraded to a septic tank installation.Water transportation would be the modus operandi for these communities for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the Govt. should make available duty-free 25-HP Yamaha outboard motors for the people to buy, as well as provide them with technical assistance to help them design and build efficient and cost-effective boats to meet their needs.Minister Ferguson had informed residents of the Pomeroon region that drainage and maintenance of canals within their communities were not areas for which regional Governments receive funding to manage on behalf of the Central Government. Further, she claimed that the complaint she was requested to look into did not fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI), but she would nevertheless engage further with executives of the RDC and other ministers of the Govt when she returned to office.It is inconceivable that Minister Ferguson was oblivious to the fact that the Central Government has been, and is, spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to provide drainage for Georgetown, East Coast villages, and other coastland areas. Further, the Honourable Minister must have been aware that the MPI has been dabbling with the drainage of Georgetown, East Bank of Demerara villages, and elsewhere since 2015.The rainy season is expected to commence in a few weeks’ time. It is therefore important for the Govt. to start addressing the needs of a desperate people, thereby alleviating them out of their misery.Yours faithfully,Charles Sohanlast_img read more