Protesters damage water supply main

Guyana Chronicle
April 20, 2001

ANTI-government protesters Wednesday afternoon damaged the water supply mains at the Coldingen Industrial Estate road as the funeral procession for Donna McKinnon passed along the East Coast Demerara highway, witnesses said yesterday.

Police are investigating the killing of McKinnon, a vendor who was shot dead and whose body was found on Robb Street, Georgetown two Monday afternoons ago when fire destroyed several buildings in Robb and Regent street.

Thousands were in the procession from Georgetown to Golden Grove, also on the East Coast, where McKinnon was buried.

The damaged pipe mains yesterday left residents at Coldingen, Melanie Damishana, Stratsphey and Non Pariel villages without water, Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) Public Relations Officer Mr Javin Singh reported.

A seafood processing plant at the Coldingen Industrial Estate was also affected by the water shortage.

Singh said the damaged main pipeline caused GUYWA to close its pump stations at Coldingen and Melanie Damishana before repairs could begin.

But he said water supply should have been restored by late yesterday afternoon.

An official from Coldingen Cold Storage, the seafood processing plant there, reported that the water shortage brought the company's operations almost to a standstill yesterday.

He said water is a key resource in the company's day-to-day operations and explained they were affected to the extent that only two of the 25 employees at the plant were required to be on duty due to the water shortage.

"The remaining staff were sent home because there was nothing for them to do", he said.

One resident at Coldingen said the mains were destroyed by some persons who were standing in the area looking at the funeral precession.

He said they used a cutlass to chop two sections of the pipeline while another section was set on fire by two men.

There were also attempts to chop down an abandoned utility pole near the damaged pipelines, on which is mounted the cup, the symbol of the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic.

A witness reported that after the vandals failed to chop down the pole with a cutlass, two men climbed it, one on the other's shoulder, and upturned the cup as they chanted "Slow water can't out mo fire."

Villagers condemned the actions.

"Why they doing all of this? Is Black and Indian people living around this area, and while the government trying to build the country they only breaking it up", a resident at Melanie Damishana commented.