The Alliance For Change (AFC) is calling for “appropriate sanctions” to be made against Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) for the dumping of environmentally hazardous waste into the Atlantic Ocean last week. The Party made it clear that it views legal measures against the company to be appropriate.
Workers attached to SCG, the company building the proposed Marriott Hotel, were caught last Monday dumping drums of waste oil at the seawalls just off the Kingston construction site.
The AFC, in pointing out that the dumping of waste oil into the Atlantic Ocean is dangerous to the environment and would affect ecological systems along the coastline, said that marine life and seagulls would be among the first to be affected.
The Party is contending that the actions of the construction company show total disregard for Guyana’s natural environment and noted that such disrespect cannot be “encouraged.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had indicated that a probe had been launched into the incident.
However, AFC has outlined that it wishes for an investigation to be launched to determine how long this has been going on and that at the end of the investigation, SCG must be held legally responsible.
The Party said that appropriate measures and penalties must be applied so as to deter others from repeating such acts.
AFC said in addition that the “Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment must take steps to ensure a thorough clean-up of the area is done and all costs for such an exercise must be borne by the construction company. The Alliance For Change takes this opportunity to thank those tourists who brought the action of the workers to the attention of the media and urge others to be as thoughtful and caring when it comes to preserving our environment.”
Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI), the Government-controlled company that manages the Marriott-branded hotel project, had said that the oil dumping incident was done by labourers acting without the authorisation of the contractor.
AHI, in a statement released last Wednesday, said that it conducted an immediate and preliminary inquiry following the report appearing in Tuesday’s edition of the Kaieteur News, under the headline, ‘Marriott’s Chinese workers caught dumping drums of waste oil at seawall.’
AHI said that SCG has since instituted measures through its site administration to prevent repetition. AHI said that SCG is also “fully cooperating with the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA), whose team visited the site immediately following the publication of the report in the Kaieteur News. The GEPA will continue to further investigate this matter.”
However, local environmental agency, the Environmental Community Health Organization ECHO, has slammed the actions of the Marriott workers.
Executive Director Royston King said that the agency “is again forced to bring to the attention of the authorities and general public the disturbingly, reckless disregard with which some among us have been treating our natural environment.”
He said it is a clear violation of environmental laws that cannot be allowed.
“Such unfriendly and irrational environmental action shows that those who are involved really have no respect or care for our environment. Waste oil dumped into our waters not only affects our fishes and other resources, but also, the ecology of our environment. That action is polluting the Atlantic Ocean and has far-reaching implications to the integrity of our environment.”
ECHO said that it is seriously contemplating legal action against those involved in the action as it is now doing its own investigation into the issue.
The incident was captured on video by two tourists who complained to Kaieteur News.
The workers were stopped by a Coast Guard rank that was stationed at a base nearby. The matter was reported to the Coast Guard Commander.
Picture saved in Monday as AFC
Caption: AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan
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