A mid-term review of the Hope Canal project is long overdue

Mr. Editor,

In Guyana’s Tenth Parliament Opinion Paper No.123, it was observed that in response to a question from Mr Ramjattan, MP, whether the developer of the Hope Canal project had submitted data to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Robert Persaud, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said in a written response that the developer of the Hope Canal project had submitted a “feasibility study” to the EPA. for the project.

It is unfortunate that at the time the answer was given, Mr. Ramjattan was apparently unaware that no feasibility study had ever been carried out on the Hope Canal project, and that no technical study had been carried out for it. determine the merits of the Hope / Dochfour area as the best possible location for the North Relief Canal of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC). In addition, following the 2005 floods and at the request of the Government of Guyana (GoG), a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC) prepared a disaster impact report and y recommended that a review of the EDWC hydraulic system should take place, and due to agricultural and population growth along the coastline, new requirements should be considered, including the construction of a spillway on the west side of the reserve to evacuate large volumes of flood water to the Demerara river. Based on these and other considerations, it is reasonable to conclude that the location of the EDWC North Relief Channel in the Hope / Dochour area was based on political considerations and not on its technical merits, as no backup data which determined the relief channel should be located at the Hope / Dochfour site for discharging flood water into the Atlantic Ocean has ever been made public, nor the final decision and basis for continuing the project, because they are always shrouded in secrecy.

A building permit was issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1996 to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) in 2011. The EPA approved a management plan for the environment (PGE) with the terms and conditions for construction and, inter alia, with regard to resettlement and displacement. , NDIA must ensure that all drainage and irrigation (D&I) structures that will be disturbed by construction activities are replaced to allow continued service provision.

The project is approximately 50% complete, but very little has been done to replace the D&I facilities that have been and are being disrupted due to construction activities. As a result, farms and farms in the Hope / Dochfour area continue to experience flooding during heavy rainfall and crop failure due to lack of irrigation during times of drought, while the EPA looks away. because it failed in its compliance monitoring and reporting. enforce the provisions of the permit it granted to NDIA.

Finally, as Dr. Luncheon reported, the GoG Cabinet has approved over $ 80 million for fuel and spare parts for equipment working on the Hope Canal excavation, in addition to the millions already spent. Offers of material to build the valves have recently been opened at costs ranging from $ 54 million and up. At this point, no one knows for sure the final cost of the Hope Canal or the functional completion date of the project, as several unbudgeted project works remain to be done, including the Atlantic Foreshore Outlet Canal – a expensive business. Funding and contract execution time for this project are not infinite. Agriculture minister Dr Ramsammy said the project will be completed by June 2013, while Dr Luncheon in his recent statement said he could not say for sure when. These inconsistencies should be reconciled to assure Guyanese that their meager taxes are not dumped into another pit. Therefore, a mid-term review of the project to assess the progress made in the implementation of project activities and the associated present and future costs is long overdue.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Sohan

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