Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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GUYWA
(Aired 2 January 2002)

   I have discovered that if almost any public entity in this country and I mean any one of them, the court system, GPL, the POLICE, CUSTOMS, GUYWA, ANY ministry, any public hospital or public functionary, ticks you off, you can crucify them with impunity. All you have to do is read our audited public accounts, the bank of Guyana statistics and the budget. The contempt for us Guyanese, is so profound that there is no longer even a pretence at doing things honestly or competently, the blatantly corrupt way our affairs are mismanaged are so glaring that you have to be blind not to see them.

     Recently I bought a pool, I live very close to the Demerara river at Versailles, so I could not have an inground pool, they are far too expensive anyway, 30,000 US especially when the water table is as high as it is, where I live less than 100 ft away from the river. The pool I bought is one of those above ground pools you buy as a kit for around two thousand US dollars.

     In the year of our lord 2001 after expending something like 9 million Euro dollars on the West Demerara water system from Goed Fortuin all the way up the West Coast to Windsor Forest, GUYWA finally gave me a water connection. I had not had a water connection before that, and I had to transport every drop of water I used for over 15 years. During the last election amid much fanfare we were told in the PPP campaign advertising that 4.8 Billion Guyana dollars were expended on giving us treated water around the country by GUYWA, a statement which most citizens quietly found amusing or not so amusing depending on your personality since none of us was getting a proper water supply. 

    Happy that I had at last gotten a connection I put the trailer with the two 400 gallon water tanks; I had built to bring the water here from the La Grange overhead tank, up for sale and bought this pool. After three weeks of having my new GUYWA connection I decided to keep the trailer, I had already bought the pool so I was stuck with it.

    GUYWA I discovered was pumping water into the lines for 2 hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, some days not at all, how was it possible I asked myself that after building a complete water treatment plant and a well about ¼ mile from my house for 6 million Euro dollars I was not getting any water?

    I began investigating and immediately discovered that the 6 million Euro dollars were spent on a dazzling white elephant.

    Ladies and gentlemen you decide that you want to dig a well, you determine how much water you want and that determines the size of the pump you need and consequently the size of the pipe that has to be placed in the ground. Let us say that your pipe into the ground artesian reservoir is 9 inches in diameter, you bore a hole 11 inches wide and you put the pipes down into the ground usually 700-800 feet deep. At the bottom of that hole your submersible pump is lowered until it starts pumping the water up the pipe. So you find an artesian reservoir 700-ft below the surface, into that artesian reservoir is your pipe and at the tip of the pipe is your pump. The pump then PUSHES the water 700-ft to the surface. All of this was done and so far all is well with the WELL, now we come to the idiocy of the situation for which we paid the consultants almost 70 percent of the total cost of the project of 6 million Euros for designing this atrocity for us.

    If you are bringing water from 700 ft below the surface of the ground anyway why not bring it 765 ft and put it into an overhead tank and let the water run out by gravity to your filters and then to your consumers 24 hours per day, there is NO extra cost involved, Isaac Newton discovered in 1667 that gravity exists, but our consultants clearly did not hear of it.

   Why did we have to build a system where we bring this water to the surface put it into a huge tank at ground level and THEN have to use several large pumps to put it into the lines, remember that the one pump we had at the bottom of the well alone; can and does fill the overhead tank, we now discover that our consultants not only have not been informed of the existence of gravity, they were also apparently not informed about the quality of electricity we have in this country which is about 85% of what it should be, we should be getting 120 volts but IF we see 95 volts in our homes we are lucky, so GP&L is supplying these treatment plants with such poor electricity that all the pumps are breaking down, and they are charging us so much for powering these pumps anyway that we cant afford to pump into the lines for more than 4-5 hours per day.     

   To illustrate what I am talking about here and to commence the crucifixion of GUYWA, let's turn to the 1999 public accounts of Guyana, prepared by our estimable auditor general.

  In it we discover that the Guyana water authority was established by act No. 3 of 1972 and is subject to separate financial report and audit. This audit is supposed to be tabled in the national assembly annually, Goolsaran tells us that it could not be determined when last it was done, so the first stage of the crucifixion begins with the fact that GUYWA has broken the LAW. Having established that they have broken the LAW, we sentence them to be crucified.

    The TOTAL assets of GUYWA in December 1999 was identified as 3.6 billion dollars but as part of their assets they reported that their TOTAL land assets on which all of the GUYWA facilities exist had a value of only three thousand and forty Guyana dollars, ladies and gentlemen all the land that GUYWA owns can be bought with the same amount of money as for a carton of Benson and Hedges!!! It is ridiculous to paraphrase our auditor general. Nail number one.

  In the 1999 public accounts GUYWA says that they owe GPL 53.2 million dollars but GPL says that GUYWA owes them 267.8 million. This is ridiculous accounting, so that's nail number two.

   In the year 1999 GUYWA spent a total of 855 million dollars, ladies and gentlemen of this total amount their salaries were 212 million and their electricity bill was 319 million. The citizens of this country are required to do what GUYWA should be doing and all of us have to build overhead tanks in our homes because GUYWA and the geniuses they have retained as consultants, do not have the simple common sense to build the GUYWA tanks above ground substantially reducing their electrical bill and maintenance costs. Now comes the really obscene aspect of the situation, we the citizens to get water to OUR overhead tanks have to buy pumps and give GP&L more money to do what GUYWA was supposed to do in the first place. Nail number three.

   As for the water treatment claims made by GUYWA? Well in 1999 GUYWA throughout this country let's say 500,000 persons spent only 697 thousand dollars on chemicals, in 1998 they spent zero dollars. Compare this to GS&WC which delivers water to the Georgetown residents about 1/3 of the population; GS&WC spent 18 million on water treatment chemicals and 132 million buying power from GP&L so in the year 1999 GPL collected from GUYWA and GS&WC 451 million dollars. Now I do not like gestimates but it would not surprise me if we the citizens individually are not spending another 400 million in electrical costs to pump this water into our overhead tanks. Now it is true that the artesian water is cleaner than the water from the conservancy but to spend only 697 thousand dollars on chemical treatment when their office supplies cost was 8 million is absolute nonsense. This is the age of computers people why does GUYWA have to spend 8 million on stationary per year. Nail number four.

    And listen to this ladies and gentlemen it would be amusing if it were not so ridiculous GUYWA collected 250 million from non metered customers in 1999 and 12 million from metered customers. GS&WC was no different they collected 205 million from non-metered customers and 125 million from metered customers. Let's pull the cross upright. 

     There are two heads which I find particularly disturbing about the GUYWA figures in the 1999 audit, there is a 31 million expenditure labeled as outside services and there is a 29 million expenditure labeled as other administrative, 60 million non specific expenditure especially in view of no audit being sent to parliament tells me that all is not right. Guywa now firmly nailed to the cross cries out "I thirst" so we look around for the GUYWA connection nearby but there is no water in the line. Sorry.

   Ladies and gentlemen Auditor General Goolsaran identifies our governmental system of having 40 departments, the 21 ministries the 10 regions etc. he tells us that they have more than 847 bank accounts almost all of which are in complete chaos, but the point I want to make here is that Goolsaran has identified 40 departments of Government and one comes to the inevitable connection with Ali Babba and the 40 thieves.

   In the mean time I have been trying to fill my pool for the past 11 days and it ain't full yet. I noted that our minister of water Baksh in a long speech recently telling us that the staff at GUYWA are not competent, so they have to bring in a team of non Guyanese to run the system for us, of course this will add at least another 1 billion dollars to our cost of water distribution and supply.

   This design concept of water distribution is completely inappropriate and unrealistic for this third world country Mr. Baksh, save our money and build overhead tanks, they are even made from pre-stressed concrete and fiberglass these days, strike up elevated potable water structures on the net and you'll see them all over the United States supplying millions of gallons to citizens there; specifically look for www.caldwelltanks.com

  Do not waste more of our money trying to make a lousy system work, its called throwing good money after bad. I think that they teach this sort of lesson in 2nd standard.