Historic sea defence project completed

by Amanda Wilson
Guyana Chronicle
December 31, 2000

THE historic sea defence project on the East Coast Demerara has been formally commissioned and residents between Good Hope and Lusignan have been assured they are now safe from flooding caused by high tides.

At the ceremony Friday afternoon, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Mr Anthony Xavier said the 1,100 metres of sea defence was the largest project undertaken by a local contractor, setting a record in sea defence history.

The project done under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and undertaken by BK International Inc. was officially commissioned at the Good Hope site office.

Xavier said it set another record as the largest contract awarded to one firm by the IDB for a sea defence project.

The $458M 12-month contract was completed to the satisfaction of his ministry in nine months, he said.

He noted that residents of the area which had been prone to floods and sea defence breaches, are now safe and stressed the government's commitment to developing the country.

Xavier noted that the Guyana coast is six feet below sea level and because of this, there is a constant battle with the sea.

But he pointed out that the government has completed some 15.2 of a total of 35 kilometres of sea defence work.

The minister urged residents to care the site and appealed to them to desist from throwing garbage in that area and stealing the boulders.

"This is for your safety and security", he told them, adding that the contractors worked during the night to ensure that the area is protected.

He congratulated BK International Inc. and encouraged other contracting companies to follow their example.

"We want to see projects coming where we will save money so that we will be able to extend our works.

"We want to see projects coming in on time", Xavier urged.

He also wished everyone a happy and prosperous 2001.

Prime Minister Sam Hinds, too, congratulated BK International Inc. on the achievement.

Project Consultant, Mr Raymond Latchmansingh explained that the scheme was completed with three months to spare because the team worked overtime. He noted that the contract was awarded on March 6, at a cost of $676,988,000, for sea defence construction at Reliance on the Essequibo Coast, and Good Hope.

He said the projects were done under IDB specifications and the bank will be monitoring both sites over the next year.

Latchmansingh added that the contract includes a one-year maintenance period and said the contracting company also built an extra 30 metres of `rip-rap' defence within the contracted price.

A few weeks ago residents forced a halt to the Mon Repos sea defence project for several days because of issues that had nothing to do with the project, he said.

Latchmansingh added that the community needs to be educated about the benefits of the project and said water will no longer overlap along the Good Hope/Lusignan sea defence during high tides.

Mr Garfield Barrow, Project Manager, said adverse weather conditions and a two-month wait on material from the Netherlands were among problems they encountered.

IDB representative, Mr Gordon Lewis told the gathering that the donor agency is pleased with the project.

Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council, Mr Richard Bactawar explained that they were forced to use the area as a dumping site but assured the minister that another location will be identified. He also assured that the NDC will watch over the area.

First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo, Minister of Local Government, Mr Harripersaud Nokta and Minister of Housing and Water, Mr Shaik Baksh were among those who attended the function.

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