Major sea defence scheme launched

Guyana Chronicle
October 10, 2000

A MAJOR scheme to improve and help protect the vital system of sea defences along the coast was officially launched on the Essequibo Coast yesterday.

Guyana is receiving G$3.5 billion, equivalent to 20 million EUROs (European currency), from the European Union for better monitoring, management and maintenance of the sea defences.

The project is financed under the eighth European Development Fund (EDF) and President Bharrat Jagdeo and Head of the Delegation of the European Commission here, Ambassador Vincent De Visscher signed the agreement in March this year.

The official launch took place in the boardroom of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), at Anna Regina and was chaired by Transport and Hydraulics Minister, Mr Anthony Xavier and Mr De Visscher.

The European Commission office here said the purpose of the visit to Essequibo was to inform the public about the importance of repairing the sea defence programme.

The main thrust is on public participation in monitoring and maintenance of the sea defence system, the office said.

Xavier noted that the European Commission has financed sea defence repairs at a cost of about 20 million EUROs and the new programme pays particular importance to establishing a better monitoring, management and maintenance system for the sector.

He announced that five kilometres of sea defence in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) and Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) will be repaired at a cost of G$2.6 billion.

The stretch, representing close to a quarter of the sea defences, is considered as being in the most critical condition.

Xavier said that given the high cost of mending sea defences, at some G$520,000 per metre, the government and the European Commission believe that proper monitoring, management and maintenance is critical in guaranteeing Guyana the long-term benefits of all sea defence works.

He said this was the reason the government is launching an awareness programme and is calling for participation from the local populace.

Implementation of the programme has started with the mobilisation of a consulting team - Alkis Rogan Associates and Niras Consulting Engineers.

Xavier said the overall objective of the project is to help prevent the flooding caused by the sea and guaranteeing the safety of property, lives, infrastructure and the livelihood of the people on the Essequibo Coast.

The purpose of the visit by Xavier and De Visscher to the Essequibo Coast was to explain to residents the consultation process leading to the definition of the best way of involving the public in the management of the sea defence system.

These consultations are only the first step in the overall project.

Tenders for implementation will be launched early next year after the completion of the design study and tender documents, the European Commission office said.

The sea defence programme will be carried out in Region Two and Three in areas such as Capoey, Colombia, Tuschen, Hague and De Kinderen.

Xavier and the delegation, which included Professor Alkis Rogan, Mr Kim Boye and Mr Eleftherios Tsiavos, Engineering Adviser and Chief Hydraulics Officer, Mr George Howard, met Councillors of the RDC, the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the Town Council, government officials, rice farmers, businessmen and other citizens.

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