Jan 27, 2019 News
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) in Guyana is set to take control of all drainage and irrigation projects in Region Six, according to the Regional Chairman David Armogan.
During an emergency meeting this week with the Vice Chairman Dennis Deroop, Regional Executive Officer Kim Williams Stephens and Councillors of the Regional Democratic Council, Region Six, Armogan said that the new development is of concern to regional officials.
No consultations were done between NDIA and the region, he added.
He noted that that the only indication of such a development was through a letter that was sent by NDIA stating that the government has given the go ahead to manage the D&I affairs of Region Six.
It was highlighted that over the years the region has been responsible for certain aspects of drainage and irrigation while the NDIA through the water users association has been responsible for other aspects of the D&I.
According to Armogan, the NDIA is trying the reverse the regular process through the Cabinet
decision. However, “no cabinet memorandum was seen”.
In light of the new development, Armogan said that the region’s budgetary allocation for 2019, catered for D&I works to be executed.
He said, “That is what we knew all the time and that is what we budgeted for in 2018 to make sure that we put enough money in the budget to deal with that.
“We were responsible for the primary system and the drainage and irrigation system was responsible for the main drainage structures like Number 43, Eversham, Adventure, etc. Now they have written to us to tell us something else”.
Armogan said that the region budgeted $370 M under drainage and irrigation (to take care of cultivation as well as residential areas), however, out of the $370 M appropriated through the national assembly, the NDIA has written requesting over $108M.
“This is only a preliminary amount that they have demanded. Maybe at some point during the year they might demand the rest of the money.
“That is why this meeting is called, to air our distress for this agreement, to express our frustration and to express our feelings with regards to this new dispensation that is taking place within the regional system.”
The Regional Chairman posited that due to what is taking place, emergency issues in relation to the farming sector will not be addressed as they usually would.
He questioned, “How is it that we are going to deal with the people? We have a responsibility as an RDC to the people of the region. This is what we do in the region. Our region is an agricultural region and therefore most of the work, the biggest slice besides health and education, is agriculture so this is a big problem for us.”
He said they have decided to request that the cabinet rescind the decision.
PPP Councillor, Zamal Hussain, opined that the regional administration plays an important role in the day to day running of the region.
He expressed his disappointment when the topic was raised “some months ago” when it was indicated that NDIA will take over monies from the regional budget.
But lo and behold, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Communities have given their assurance in the national assembly that they would respect or they would not change any system that is working well.
Hussain pointed out that there was an advertisement in the state run newspapers where several canals were already tendered by NDIA with no consultations, no approval of the transfer of money.
“But this is the high handedness of this agency, that they without any consultation with the RDC decided to tender for the job so actually they are saying we are not needed, the RDC is being bypassed.
“If we don’t put our foot down the entire budget will be taken away from us”.
He said that many persons will be out of jobs, since the persons that are pre-qualified in the region to tender for the jobs were not informed of the new direction taken.
Hussain said that some of the works under the NDIA currently in the region “have failed”. “There are supposed to be about nine excavators in this region. You tell me how many working. These are managed directly by NDIA. Not more than two working. The mini-excavator; same thing.”
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