Flooding may be due to factors not connected to poorly constructed sea defences
Stabroek News
March 4, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Flooding from broken sea defences, dams, defective kokers and overtopping of river banks and rivetments are not uncommon, particularly more recently.

It is not surprising to hear on our television newscasts, read in our newspapers and listen to our radio newscasts, about poor construction of sea defences and other water control measures. In fact one can actually write the scripts that are sure to be heard and read in the newscasts. Underlying these newscasts is the fact that political mileage is to be had from these unfortunate events.

It would be insensitive to ignore the cost to all those persons who suffer damage resulting from these floods. Livestock, crops, properties and valuable resources are lost to thousands of people. Compensation from the state cannot allow affected persons to recover totally from their losses.

I had written on this matter before and wish to express my concern once more. It is with some degree of dishonesty that the news anchor persons do not see their roles as responsible educators rather than sensational news carriers. To hear the naked and irresponsible political innuendoes bandied around borders on the disgusting.

Some time back an 87- year old resident at Stanley-town WBD commenting on the flooding caused by the Demerara River overtopping its banks, said that in his lifetime he had never witnessed that occurrence. That comment was significant. Residents at Buxton said that they had never experiencd the height at which waves ride over the sea defences in that area. What do these comments have in common?

There must be some phenomenon that causes these unusual occurrences. I thought that in at least one of these newscasts there would have been talk about global warming, rising tides, melting of glacier caps and other factors giving rise to threats of flooding. Where are the scientists of the University of Guyana, who can lend credibility to the statement made by the Minister of Works, Anthony Xavier, on the position of the moon relative to the planet earth?

I am baffled that responsible persons are not addressing the problems of flooding of low-lying areas due to factors that are not related to poorly constructed sea defences. Why are we keeping silent on the possibility that we will have to remove from the coastal strip, sooner than expected? Why are we intent on constructing multi-storied buildings in Georgetown and other vulnerable coastal regions, when we know that we run the risk of being overrun by the encroaching ocean?

I am anxiously looking forward to the public lecture on global warming planned for the Camp Street Avenue. I trust that the media will give that lecture every prominence that it deserves. The public needs to be educated. We want news that informs. Keep the political campaigning for 2006. Focus on real issues now. I dare say those political aspirants may find that they are elected to rule over Lake Guyana. Yours faithfully,

Rudolph D. Mahadeo

Editor's note:

The Camp street lecture on global warming took place on February 28.