Dear Editor,

I have just seen a report where Edghill and Hamilton are reported to be claiming that the reason behind the flooding in Georgetown is because the M&CC pump attendants were asleep. I challenge these two gentlemen to provide proof of these mischievous claims as the root cause of the flooding. If not, they will be exposed once more as architects of deception – l!@rs.

I have been involved with the drainage of Georgetown from 2015 to 2020 and while there have been several reasons why our city floods during this period, it was never reported or discovered that the root cause was due to sleeping pump attendants. I repeat, during this period, in Georgetown flooding was never attributed to pump attendants sleeping.

In 2015, mere days after the Coalition assumed office, the country was drenched with rainfall, of even more intensity than our current patterns. An assessment of our drainage infrastructure discovered that: of the 13 sluices that drained Georgetown, only 4 were operable; of the 7 pumps, only 2 were functioning; none of the outfalls were dredged in years; private businesses had paved over several important waterways. In fact, 2 sluices were actually controlled by private businesses, hence we had to seek permission from the owners to even access these structures. Our entire drainage network had collapsed causing sections of our city to flood and remain so for days.

Without even casting blame on any entity, since our Capital City belongs to all Guyanese, we set about repairing and upgrading all the sluices, repairing, or replacing all the pumps and dredging all the waterways, thus bringing much needed relief to our city. Within a year, not only was the city cleaner, air fresher but our drainage network was able to effectively drain as much as 2.5” of rainfall in a single day.

This was not achieved by physical infrastructure work only. A reporting system was established, whereby engineers who resided near a sluice or pumping station were tasked with ensuring that the facility was operable whenever required. Not only was the government and city council involved, there also existed an informal group of “inspectors”. That’s right, so that any fault or downtime was immediately reported to the ministry via our contact numbers or social media, causing teams to be dispatched immediately.

It was important to note that during this period, there was no separation of responsibilities between government and local authorities since it was well established that all local authorities required government assistance with respect to drainage. As such politics was set aside and assistance was granted whenever needed, irrespective of which political party controlled the local authority.

Edghill and company, have disbanded the reporting network, redrawn the demarcation between government and local authorities knowing fully well that these entities are incapable of handling this task on their own, especially since they cannot collect the revenue that they are owed. Further, Edghill and company have even sunk so low, that they are now blaming pump attendants. Most worrying is the reintroduction of politics into our drainage network.

This has to be some form of abuse or maybe a song – Blame it on the rain, the pumps or the attendants!!

Yours faithfully,

David Patterson