– told nation in Oct. 2010 fund was tax dollars, now 2015 says is Petro Caribe loan
In October 2010, the administration of former President Bharrat Jagdeo launched a new project entailing an
ambitious 10-kilometer drainage canal to reduce flooding on East Coast Demerara.
The $3.6B canal was said to be the largest project to be funded directly from the Public Treasury, Jagdeo had told a large crowd of invitees during a ceremony in the backdam, along the East Demerara Water Convervancy (EDWC, in October 2010.
There had been questions over the technical aspects of the project which is nearing completion and due to be commissioned shortly.
Now more than four years later, Jagdeo has shockingly disclosed that the Hope/Dochfour Canal project is actually being constructed from a loan that Government took.
Meeting with angry rice farmers last week on the Essequibo Coast, Jagdeo reportedly referred to the rice-for-oil Petro Caribe agreement with Venezuela signed between Guyana and Venezuela in 2009.
He said that Guyana is not the only Caribbean country that has access to the Petro Caribe arrangement, but other countries have been utilizing the financing for programmes that exist.
He said that US$15M from the loan was used to finance one single project—Hope Canal.
It would be the first time that Government or Jagdeo has admitted that the monies used to finance the canal is actually a loan.
With engineers and others questioning the project itself, Jagdeo back then argued
that in the East Demerara area alone, in the MMA section, there is an estimated 30,000 hectares earning US$1,000 per hectare, which translates to around US$30M. If half those crops are lost when the flood waters are released on the land, he posited that would account for US$15M in lost revenue – the cost of the project.
The project was supposed to be completed in two years but has been delayed again and again.
It includes a head regulator at the Conservancy end; the canal itself; a new bridge across the Hope Road where the canal crosses and sluice gates on the Atlantic Ocean end.
In justifying the canal project, Government had also used the 2005 flooding on the East Coast which decimated crops and left billions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses.
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