Jul 28, 2010 News
– cites worsening road conditions
By Leonard Gildarie
As heavy rains continue in the hinterland, a major bus company has announced its decision to suspend the Georgetown/Lethem service citing the deplorable conditions of the road.
According to IntraServ, in notices in the daily newspaper yesterday, the conditions of the roadway have worsened to the point where the company is now forced to cease its services “until further notice”.
With an increasing trade with Brazil, via Lethem, this latest disruption would strike another blow to economic activities for those dependent on the road.
Yesterday, minibus operators who traverse the area said that while they are able to move, the going is slow, with many parts of the road in a “terrible state”.
A problematic “double-bridge” located about 40 miles north of Kurupukari, is unsafe for the 47-seater buses operated by IntraServ, an official who asked to remain anonymous, said yesterday.
While lighter vehicles are crossing the bridge, some of the trucks and bigger buses are forced to use pieces of planks and other materials to get across. However, the situation has now become unsafe for the bigger vehicles and IntraServ said it was forced to make an “unfortunate” decision to suspend the service.
Normally, in dry conditions, the company makes six return trips weekly from Lethem.
A journey that would take up to 12 hours would now take as much as 16-18 hours.
“There are big holes and flash flooding and the bridge has really deteriorated,” the IntraServ official said.
That particular stretch of the Georgetown/Lethem road is said to be maintained by the Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL).
Yesterday, an engineer of Mekdeci Machinery and Construction Inc. (MMC), which also has contracts from the government to maintain sections of the road, said that they are monitoring the situation on the road, but while there is “lots of water”, there are no major problems, except at the bridge in question.
Several sections of the road, according to photographs taken last Friday, were under water.
Almost two weeks ago, the roadway had to be closed after rains washed away sections.
Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, and other officials, had blamed the torrential rains in the interior for the damaged sections of the Mabura Road.
Rickford Lowe, Head of the Works Services, had disclosed that following heavy rains earlier this month, a culvert at 42 miles on the Linden-Lethem road collapsed, rendering that section of the road impassable. He said, too, that some erosion at 40 Miles created some difficulty for motorists due to erosion of the roadway. Lowe said that when the Ministry learnt of the damaged sections to the road, immediate steps were taken to have repairs done.
“In this regard the section at 40 Miles has been fully rehabilitated and the works commenced at 42 miles where pipe culverts of increased capacity will be used.”
Benn said that there were ongoing road works at different sections prior to the rains but had to be halted because the rains would hinder any proper road works.
Benn contended that suggestions that an all-weather road be built would be costly. It would cost some US$250M and Guyana simply could not afford that. He said that he was satisfied with the level of work being done in light of the circumstances. Lowe told media operatives that substantial sums are being spent annually on the maintenance of the road.
He said that expenditure in 2009 amounted to some $244.4M and the allocation for 2010 is $300M.
“Repairs are ongoing to bridges along the corridor and tenders for further repairs to bridges, amounting to over $100M, are being advertised…Inclement weather conditions over the past two months have, however, curtailed road maintenance works.”
In seeking to explain the gravity of the situation, Benn had told media operatives that what is being tacked is two-fold in that there is a significantly high spring tide coupled with the heavy rainfall as a result of an adverse weather system which has flooded a large section of the interior.
He explained that the roads are covered under several feet of water in some areas and the roads are laterite which makes it susceptible to the erosion.
“You could go and see for yourselves….there is flash flooding coming down from the creeks…There is high water… There is extreme level of waters at culverted sections.” He said, “We are going through an extreme event at the moment and it is a challenge that we have to manage.”
The Minister said that they have been advised that there may be another two weeks or more of the same weather and they will have to wait for the optimal time before works could be restarted on the roads.
The Minister said that at present persons should try their best to avoid traveling on the road if it is not a necessity, adding that despite the fact that they have not stopped traffic on the roadway they were unhappy with some of the heavy duty trucks laden with items such as timber traversing the roadway.
He said that in the current conditions the roads are being damaged further.
Recently, heavy rains and flash flooding had damaged a key section of the road between Ituni and Kwakwani, cutting off logging and other activities.
However, residents teamed up with government workers to build a bypass with traffic resuming earlier this week.
Attempts to contact Minister Benn yesterday for a comment proved futile.
Garbage situation has become environmental crisis
– City Mayor
Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green, yesterday told members of the media that he is looking forward to their continuous support in public awareness as the garbage situation has now become an environmental crisis.
At the time the Mayor was bringing members of the media up to date with the state of affairs.
Mayor Green noted that over the weekend a team from City Council made the observation that more garbage is entering the city than usual. He added that while the technical persons may not totally agree with it, burning garbage seems to be the most effective means of alleviating the existing conditions.
“I would say if the circumstances and environment is safe, away from houses and gas stations, it is not a bad idea to burn and ease the situation.”
Green further advised that in the meantime, persons should make every effort while storing their garbage, to use proper disinfectants.
In addition, the council informed that given their financial situation the possibility of getting back the services of the private contractors does not look likely.
Head of the Solid Waste Management Unit, Clinton Urlin, said that the council will be definitely moving towards a fortnightly garbage collection.
Also, in response to the question as to the Ministry of Health’s support in this time of crisis, Urlin stressed that the Ministry has been very supportive. This was endorsed by Mayor Green.
Urlin said that currently the Council is in debt to the contractors to the tune of some $48M.
It was also noted by Deputy Mayor Robert Williams that as it is now, the council is being paid $71 dollars per household for garbage collection and that money is deducted from person’s property taxes.
This, he explained, is in no way helping the situation as all of their efforts for getting revenue are being frustrated by Government’s interference.
On this point, the Mayor noted what he described as attempts by the Government to frustrate the council.
The Mayor alluded to a recent development where permission was given to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company to erect several advertising billboards, but these were torn down by the Public Works Ministry.
“That exercise brought in revenue for us, but again that was what it was… for 17 years we controlled the car park, without notice it was taken away from us,”.
Mayor Green pointed out that even if their revenue bases are allowed to be broadened, the millions owed to them by the Government will still not be sufficient for the council to function.
According to Green, the statement made by the Government that the monies owed to the council was paid is untrue.
“In spite of several calls to the Minister of Finance, Government did not pay taxes for the second and third quarters due and payable – $84M for ordinary buildings.”
Oct 28, 2021Kaieteur News – Gary Ragnauth hit an attractive 64 to spur Caribbean Sports Club to comfortable 30-run win over Sunrisers last Sunday at Cullen Beach where action continued in the inaugural...
Kaieteur News -I thought that David Granger was strategising by not announcing his candidacy then doing it at the last moment.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – It is nothing short of shocking to learn that, despite the fact that the world... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]