Stabroek News Sunday
Mayor asks City Engineer to account for lax supervision of pumps, sluices
-official says still awaiting materials after four-month-old request
Following government’s recent criticism of the Mayor and City Council’s management of Georgetown’s pumps and sluices after citywide flooding just over a week ago, Mayor Ubraj Narine has asked City Engineer Colvern Venture for a full account.
On December 10, 2021, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, following a visit to the various pump stations and sluices around Georgetown, had observed that the Ruimveldt North (River View) sluice was not properly functioning and that as a result persons who lived nearby experienced major flooding.
In a press release, the Ministry of Agriculture stated that residents complained that some of the sluices were left open, which resulted in flooding in several parts of the city. In addition, the Ministry posted on its Facebook page that residents of Ruimveldt North claimed that the operator who is responsible for operating the sluice did not do so promptly which resulted in their homes being flooded.
Narine subsequently wrote Venture to enquire whether what was reported by the ministry was true. He also reminded that he had written him twice prior on findings at the municipal pumps and sluices and was awaiting a response.
Narine also mentioned that although the rainy season has started, he has not seen any Action Plan from Venture to say what would be implemented to monitor the pumps and sluices in the city. Narine noted that he expected Venture to take these matters seriously and act on them, instead of seemingly ignoring them.
Three letters were issued to Venture where the mayor highlighted several areas that needed attention. One letter, dated July 5, 2021, stated that the mayor visited some of the municipal pumps and sluices in the city on June 21, 2021, and observed poor infrastructure, lighting, drainage, and absence of pump attendants.
Another letter issued to Venture on November 16 stated that pump attendant, Eardly Amsterdam, at Princes Street was robbed of his cell phone through an unsecured window at the Princes Street koker. In both letters, Narine urged Venture to take the necessary action to rectify the infractions.
When this newspaper contacted Venture last Thursday, he said he never received any of the letters that were sent by Narine since he hasn’t been at work for a while because he is in quarantine.
Venture, however, responded to some of the reports made. When asked about the pump attendants, Venture described them, especially Amsterdam, as being negligent.
Venture also stated that the requisition for the required materials for proper infrastructure and lighting was made about four months ago to the City Council’s Finance Department but to date no materials were provided. “Until we receive the requisite materials then we can be able to rectify the infractions that the mayor claims. The mayor continues to blame the City Engineer Department and myself but he [the mayor] however fails to deliver the right message to the media,” he said.