…as rains, fire sever G/T-Lethem road link
The rains combined with poor maintenance practices have severed the main link between coastal Guyana and Lethem. The roadway has been used by people transporting goods and hardware to the hinterland community, sometimes with an onward connection to neighbouring Brazil.
Two weeks ago, two of the culverts that spanned the roadway collapsed. The surface simply caved in, and within a few hours, the opening had become a river flowing across the roadway.
Traffic from either part of the country could not proceed in any direction.
Motorists and truckers who ply the route said that weeks ago they reported the deterioration of the road that spanned the culverts but there was no move on the part of the authorities to remedy the situation.
When the first culvert collapsed the drivers rushed to place planks across the opening to facilitate the passage of the trucks and buses. This stop-gap measure only sufficed until the rains came and further eroded either side of the culvert, transforming the passage into raging rivers.
So frustrated are the people moving between the coast and Lethem that they wonder if there is a conspiracy to torpedo the movement of people between Guyana and Brazil. They said that they first reported the deteriorating road condition months ago. They said that in the past the road maintenance was undertaken by Omai Gold Mines but after that company closed its local operations maintenance works ground to a halt.
Mekdeci Mining Company then undertook to maintain a section of the road and the government, through the Ministry of Works, would have ensured a proper road.
However, the Works Ministry has not been paying any attention to the road. The result is an almost impassable surface made slushy by the passage of the heavy vehicles over the wet road.
An arsonist had not so long ago torched one of the bridges forcing vehicles to ford the river at low tide. That bridge has since been repaired, and in good time, because with the rivers swollen there can be no thought of buses and trucks driving across.
The road users are also complaining about the deplorable road surface, especially along the stretch some 20 miles outside Linden.
The road remains unsurfaced because of an absence of desire, said the truckers. They said that they are aware that Brazil had even offered to surface the road and so gain access to Port Georgetown.
Nearly seven decades ago, Ford Motors had offered to build the road to Lethem on condition that only Ford vehicles be allowed to traverse. The British administration balked at the offer.
There is at the moment no move to repair the collapsed culvert and to seal the breach across the roadway.
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