It was intended to be a kind gesture to help the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) with addressing the city’s drainage problem, but MACORP’s lending of an excavator to the municipality last December would about a month later turn out to be a financial nightmare.
In light of the flooding situation which existed last year, the entity, as part of its 15th anniversary observance, decided to lend the municipality an excavator for a three-month period to boost its drainage capabilities. The Ministry of Agriculture Drainage and Irrigation Authority was also entrusted with three excavators for the same period and for the same purpose.
Each of the machines, at the time of being handed over to the two entities, was valued at US$200,000 or G$40M.
According to MACORP’s Sales Manager, Lindon Bentick, it was just about one month ago that word reached the entity that the heavy duty machinery which was on loan to the municipality was inoperable. Bentick related that technicians were dispatched to examine the condition of the machine which was at the time parked aback of Guyhoc Park. The technicians, the Sales Manager said, discovered that the hydraulic pump of the machine, valued at $4M, was missing. He disclosed that the pump serves to control the entire hydraulic system and boom operation of the excavator, thus its removal had rendered the machine incapable of functioning.
Bentick disclosed, too, that the batteries of the machine were removed, adding that there was considerable damage evident on the hose and exhaust of the machine which was operated by an operator employed by the municipality.
“Our technicians went to visit the machine and found it parked with parts missing. The operator came and related that there is a report with the City Council that parts were removed… probably the previous night. We just decided to take action to fix the machine and remove it from there to prevent further losses.”
In essence, MACORP decided to cut short the length of time the machine would have been available to the municipality.
According to Bentick, no official from City Hall had at any point in time informed MACORP of the state of the machine, even as he noted that the machinery company does not intend to lay any blame on the municipality.
He did note, though, that the six million odd dollars which was spent to repair the machine was brought to the attention of the municipality, and that if the body so desires it could reimburse the amount spent for the unanticipated expense.
“The idea is that we loaned the machine and they were responsible for all the security and everything…They were not the only ones with that responsibility…the ones loaned to the Agriculture Ministry are still working well because we make constant checks on them.”
City Mayor Hamilton Green yesterday expressed embarrassment that such an occurrence had even materialised, adding that an attempt to sabotage the works that were progressing well is not being ruled out.
According to the Mayor, it was through his intervention that MACORP had volunteered to lend the multi-million dollar excavator to aid with the city’s drainage work.
“Either by some strange coincidence or misadventure that good will was dissipated. After three days of operating successfully, and people were pleased that the equipment was working well, it was broken into and millions of dollars worth of parts were removed,” the Mayor said.
Deputy Mayor Robert Williams had received the key for the excavator in December, at which time he had disclosed that it would be assigned over a three-month period to the communities of North and South Ruimveldt where some 50,000 persons reside. He had related that the residents in the targeted communities were, during that period, suffering from a dreadful drainage situation.
However, having reclaimed and repaired the excavator, MACORP has opted to place the machine back on its marketable list, and at its initial value of US$200,000.
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