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Feb 14, 2011 Letters
I wish to respond to an editorial in the Kaieteur News article titled, “Laptop Plunder” dated February 11, 2011, which contains a number of inaccurate comments with regard to the Hope canal (the East Demerara Water Conservancy northern relief channel at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara).
Major developmental projects being implemented by the government have all been negatively criticised by the Kaieteur News be it the President’s Laptop Project, the Amaila Falls Project and the Hope Project leading one to believe that there is some sinister motive either political or the fulfilling of a personal agenda. With regard to the newspapers claim that the government has undertaken the Hope Project, “Against the advice of every engineer in sight (and some out of sight)”, studies by both local and international experts have all agreed that such an outlet is necessary to alleviate the adverse effects of climate change particularly on the East Coast of Demerara, Mahaica and Mahaicony areas.
Hydraulic modeling of the EDWC was carried out in 2004 under the Hydrology and Water Resources study for the Guyana D&I rehabilitation project and was further updated in 2005 by the Task Force for Infrastructure Recovery (TFIR) which provided analytical output from which recommendations were derived in improving the flow and discharge system.
The Final Report of the Task Force for Infrastructure Recovery (TFIR), prepared by experts from Mott MacDonald, local engineers with input from engineers out of Holland recommended such an outlet. Also, assessment in the Guyana Floods Geotechnical and Hydraulic Assessment of the EDWC, UNDAC, in February 2005 suggested the same.
It must be noted also that during the initial stages before commencement of works began on the channel, four consultative meetings were held with residents and farmers within the project area. Compensation packages have since been offered and received by affected persons.
With regard to transparency and accountability, in keeping with relevant procurement laws, advertisements were placed in the daily newspapers for consultancy services for the construction of the relief channel and thereafter a contract was awarded through the national competitive bidding process in March, 2009 to CEMCO/SRKN engineering in association with the UK based company Mott MacDonald Company who completed all the technical work. These works included conducting hydrological and reservoir studies, hydraulic engineering and flood routing studies, hydrographic surveys, engineering and typographic surveys as well as geotechnical investigations. These works were successfully completed.
A consultative period was undertaken subsequent to the preliminary design and in December, 2009, a draft design report was presented by the consultancy firm and then placed on the internet for public commentary where feedback was received, leading to improvements being made to the draft and its finalization.
Importantly, a copy of the design report was also sent to the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE) for comments and a presentation was done. A thorough study of the design was done by GAPE before the design was finalized.
On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, advertisements were then placed in the daily newspapers for the operation, servicing and monitoring of NDIA excavators, bulldozers and draglines, supply of timber mats, supply of geotextile material and supervision services for the construction of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) northern relief channel and associated drainage and irrigation canals at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara. Tenders were received and the process of the evaluation/awarding of contracts through a competitive bidding process by the National Procurement and Tender Administration (NPTAB) began.
These tenders were then made available on NPTAB’s website and two of those components have since been awarded. Notably, one of those components was subsequently published by the Kaieteur News on September 16, 2010, the same newspaper that is questioning the transparency and accountability of the project.
Given the intricate details of securing expert advice along with the procedures involved in the awarding of different components under the project, the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) finds the comments made by the Kaieteur News mischievous since there was much consultation with both local and international experts with regard to the construction of the canal and all procedures undertaken by the entity to award contracts to undertake different components of the project fulfilled the criteria under the relevant laws.
The MOA’s NDIA have already commenced construction on this much needed channel that will be more than welcome when completed. In addition, this project, like the Laptop Project can be seen as a project that seeks to enrich and empower the people of Guyana not one “cohort” as is being claimed by the Kaieteur News. With the successful completion of the channel, economic activities along the coastline and the riverain communities of Mahaica and Mahaicony would indeed be boosted.
Corporate Secretary, NDIA
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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