Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, along with officials from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), on Friday, visited the sluices located at Cowan Street, Commerce Street, and Ruimveldt East (River View) to assess their operations, as several parts of the city experienced flooding following the heavy rainfall.
Although reports suggest that all of the structures were operable, many parts of the city experienced instances of flooding for most of the day.
Residents who reside close to the Ruimveldt North (River View) sluice, reported that their homes were flooded. They claimed that the operator who is responsible for operating the sluice did not do so promptly which resulted in their homes being flooded.
One resident, who met with the minister, said that he has been bailing water from his property for most of Friday morning, after which, he will have to purchase disinfectants and other cleaning agents to sanitise his property.
Speaking to media operatives, Minister Mustapha said although all the sluices and pumps appear to be operable, residents reported that there was a delay in the opening of some of the sluices which contributed to the flooding.
“From around midnight last night to early this morning, we’ve had about four inches of rainfall which resulted in a number of areas being flooded. That’s why I decided to visit some of these sluices to see what can be done to drain the city as soon as possible,” said Minister Mustapha.
He added, “We have three engineers who normally check to ensure these structures are fully functional but are often faced with difficulties because some of the gates are usually locked and our officers are not granted access to monitor these structures. While at River View, residents complained that the structures were not operable last night which contributed to the entire area being flooded.”
Minister Mustapha also disclosed that a larger drainage pump is currently being installed at the Commerce Street pump station to facilitate more effective drainage in that area. He also called on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to better monitor the structures to minimise flooding.
“I hope that the City Constabulary can better monitor the City’s sluices and pumps. They need to ensure the operators assigned to these structures are consistent and open these sluices on time. A few months ago, the President [Irfaan Ali] himself, during an assessment of several structures in the City, discovered that pumps were off while operators assigned to operate those structures were sleeping,” the Agriculture Minister added.
“This remains a cause for concern because when flooding occurs residents are inconvenienced. Now that the Christmas season is here, a lot of people are conducting business in this part of Georgetown. I am hoping that effective drainage is maintained. The NDIA has also given a lot of help to the City Council to get these areas drained so it is now up to the Council to effectively manage these structures so that we can have proper drainage whenever there are instances of heavy rainfall.”
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council have primary responsibility for monitoring and maintaining the drainage structures in the City.
Minister Mustapha was accompanied by NDIA Chairman, Lionel Wordsworth, NDIA Chief Engineer, Timothy Innis, and other officials from the ministry.