Private sector slams authorities over flooding

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The Private Sector Commission today slammed the authorities over rain-fuelled flooding that has gripped the city and it declared that its confidence has been further diminished in the effectiveness of big ticket items such as the Doppler radar and the Hope canal.

The PSC statement follows:

Rainfall has once again resulted in major floods in the City of Georgetown and the Coastal Plains of Guyana and the business entities and poor households will once again suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

While the quantum of rainfall may have been unusual for the time period it fell and natural causes will obviously be blamed as in the past. The PSC is concerned that once again it seems that the leaders of the nation have been caught off guard. The alert mechanisms, forecasters and administrators both in central and local government have disappointed us in their proactivity and reaction to this development.

This situation is unfolding even after the millions being spent on the Doppler weather stations, hundreds of millions spent on drainage and irrigation annually, billions spent on the significantly delayed Hope Canal Project and the billion dollars currently being spent on the cleanup campaign. Our confidence in the effectiveness of these programs has been further diminished.

The PSC is calling on the Government, both central and local to provide urgently, the necessary assistance to ensure:

  1. That the areas affected are drained as soon as is practical. (The Private Sector will explore opportunities to assist).
  2. Support provided to aid clean up and recovery of households affected.
  3. Adequate systems are put in place to facilitate advisories being sent out to the public with regard to the expectations of the next few days.
  4. Assessment of damages for possible financial assistance to aid recovery of those affected and uninsured must be considered.
  5. Medical advisories are sent out so that additional disasters are not ignited.

The PSC also calls on members of the public to allow the spirit of goodwill and friendship to prevail at this time so that communities can work together to overcome this problem.

The PSC is of the view that the flooding is as a result of both a natural phenomenon and a governance problem. For the governance problem, a national inquiry must be done this time to ensure that the true causes for the various lapses in the systems can be identified so that our alert and reaction processes can be improved in the future.