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The Government of Guyana and the consortia of ROYAL HASKONING/TC/WLI/DELFT/HYDRULICS/SKRN yesterday signed the agreement, which is funded by the European Union under the 8th EDF.
Signatories to the contract included, Minister of Finance, Saisnarine Kowlessar, Minster of Public Works and Communication, Anthony Xavier, Acting Head of the EU delegation Helena Laasko, and JH Harrie Laboyrie from Royal -- the contracting group.
The project will soon provide Guyana with a better system to monitor its Sea Defence unit and to plan for flood prevention. This is expected to lay the foundation for the setting up of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management System through the development of a Sea Defences Management System.
This system will address the department’s development both in terms of administration and technology.
Minister Anthony Xavier in brief remarks affirmed Government’s commitment to upgrading the nation’s preparedness to address future problems and to find solutions for the constant battle to keep the ocean at bay.
With this agreement they will be able to act prior to problems rather than react to sea defence problems, he stated.
“Under this programme we are strengthening our capacity, staying informed and as a result we will be able to better predict which areas and where we should focus in order to maximize our limited resources”
The Minister reiterated his Ministry’s commitment to forward thinking and noted the need to explore new ideas while not neglecting the wisdom of the past.
He issued a call for his engineers, sea defence contractors and consultants to “think outside the box” and find better ways and methods not only to help secure Guyana’s coast line but to put Guyana on the map of innovation.
“With this new system we will be able to test many more models of defences and it will allow us to find more innovative methods that will serve our particular needs” the Minister added.
Some of the main problems that will be addressed under this programme include the proper collection of data, the creation of data banks that will be accessible to all the relevant authorities and the lack of appropriately trained technical personnel in administration.
The project will ensure that the department has all the information needed to develop strategy, make informed judgements and forecasts. As a result morphological surveys, oceanographic monitoring, models and database, aerial photography, leveling and mapping and the associated technical assistance and training will be key to the establishment of a shore zone management system.
The establishment of the database will allow for better land and sea management and will be accessible to all other agencies and engineers involved.
The Institutional Capacity Building Activities have become more necessary since it has been recognised that the building of sea defences needs to be coupled with a proper system of monitoring wave activity and tidal action.
At the end of the project the Sea defences Department is expected to have set up a Meteomarine Monitoring Programme, which will be used to identify parameters affecting the sea defence strategy.
The project will be conducted in identified pilot areas along the coastline of Regions two (Pomeroon - Supenaam) and Region four (Demerara-Mahaica).
The pilot areas will also include islands of Leguan, Wakenaam and the mouth of the Essequibo River up to Bartica.