The Environmental Protection Agency was set up by an act
of parliament No.11 of 1996.
The act and the bill sought to protect the public by
making it illegal for anyone to build or destroy anything that will have an
impact on the environment or the persons who live around these intended constructions/expansions.
The EPA act sought to regulate any industrial or
commercial activity which impacts negatively on the natural environment or any
use that can be made of it.
It also stipulates that anything done to the environment
should not harm or cause material discomfort, or, affect the health of any
person. It also states that nothing done by any person shall impair the safety
of any other person regardless of how it affects our total economic status as a
Any Guyanese can contact the EPA at the Institute of Applied
Science and Technology Building at the University of Guyana, and they are
required by the law to give any member of the public, any document or documents
they request regarding any works being done anywhere in the country which can
have the potential to cause material discomfort to any citizen.
So if some company or individual is building or doing
anything that interferes, or has the potential to interfere, with any person or
his environment, you have a legal right ladies and gentlemen to ask for the Environmental
Impact Study for those works, and if there is none or if there is non
compliance, you can ask the EPA to intervene and stop it.
Recently it was drawn to the attention of the EPA that a
local company Didco was implementing expansion which can have this effect. And
notwithstanding vigorous opposition by the EPA and the public, Didco refused to
be subjected to these regulations.
Ladies and gentlemen I hardly ever, go after a local
private sector company, since I have always held that the private sector should
be used as the engine of growth in this country and mostly they need my help
since their rights are being trampled upon by someone in the government. But
when a private sector entity decides to break or bend the laws of this country,
in the pursuance of its economic well being, I have to speak out.
Didco has almost single-handedly destroyed the local
poultry industry in this country over the past 15 years, they have imported
Chicken for example from the US at prices which had lead to the demise of many
local poultry farmers. Now amidst much fanfare, Didco has declared that they
will resuscitate the local poultry industry by introducing newer, better and presumably
cheaper methods of growing Poultry which virtually gives them the monopoly in
chicken rearing in this country. So after subjecting this nation to the
potential of increased levels of salmonella in our food from this imported
chicken which even Time magazine told us had a very real danger of being
contaminated with salamonella, Didco now decides that they will grow their
chicken here in Guyana. Does the term hypocrisy have any significance for the
people at Didco? Apparently not!
They have now refused to follow the basic rules of the
EPA and are building a chicken farm on the highway which can have the effect of
upsetting the eco balance of the Emerald Towers and Splashmins tourist resorts by
creating the potential for chicken dung to contaminate the ground water and
consequently the creeks in the area, they have consistently refused to
cooperate with the EPA, have even refused to give them simple information about
their proposed development which can allow the EPA to arrive at any sort of
conclusion whatsoever, that what they are doing will not pollute the creeks in
Under pressure by the EPA DIDCO have approached the
President and Dr. Luncheon to assist them to muzzle and hog tie the EPA. This
is not the first time that this has happened, why do we make laws which will be
broken by the executive, especially since the executive in this country have
been known to be guilty of every conceivable sort of lawlessness.
Ladies and gentlemen every Guyanese in this country is
affected by this lawlessness, let me give you a concrete example which I have
before me and which is properly documented. Hundreds of people of all ethnic
backgrounds send me letters daily, because of these commentaries, complaining
of injustices meted out to them, but few of them are documented in a manner
which will allow me to comment without fear of committing liable or defamation.
This matter on the west coast of Demerara concerns a
person who can only be described as completely oblivious of the responsibilities
of ownership and a poor woman who is being subjected to complete contempt by the
person who offends. Now both of these people are Indo Guyanese but one has
access to economic power and the other does not.
It concerns a company called Daevon and an Indo Guyanese
woman called Saffie Alli, Saffie built a house opposite the Vreed en Hoop
police station some 5 years ago, and now the owner of Daevon, one Karran Ganpat
has commenced construction of an illegal structure in front of Saffie's
I have in my possession the objection of the district
council which points out to the regional health authorities that what Ganpat
was building was riddled with illegality. I also have in my possession letters
telling the Regional Council and its chairman one Mr. Dookie an ex
schoolteacher from Leguan, apparently once you can read you can become Chairman
of a Region in this country, you do not have to have one days experience as a
manager anywhere in commerce in this country. I would not hire Dookie to run a
cook shop for me and neither would you, but our government hired him to run the
West Demerara, Essequibo Islands Region for us.
Also coming under attack in this investigation, is one
Mr. Dundas the Regional Environmental Health Officer, who disregarded a letter
to him from the district council dated 24th June 2002 telling him
that the structure being built was not approved by the Central Housing and Planning
authorities, the letter was copied to Mr. Dennis Muir chief environmental office
ministry of health, no one did anything.
The Regional Councils in this country do not understand
their democratic functions and in general overrule district and neighborhood
councils, for no other reason than they have been bribed to do so, they also
starve the district and neighborhood councils for money which is subvented to
them by central government and the district and neighborhood councils have
virtually no say, in how the money will be spent in the regions.
So Chairman Dookie, the Best Pouderoyen district council
pointed out to you that Mr. Ganpat was breaking the law, that he was building a
structure which was not authorized by the central housing and planning
authority and it is recorded in the district council's minutes of 20th
august 2002 that a delegation went to see you on 14th August 2002 and
informed you there were serious breaches of the law in the construction of Ganpat's
business premises, so why have you done nothing to give justice to Ms. Ali, especially
since Mr. Ganpat is not renowned for building safe structures, since over the past
few years a number of his properties have burnt down, This is a person who
should be forced to follow the letter of the law to its last dot.
DIDCO must stop building whatever they are building on
the highway until they establish for MY benefit that they are complying with
the requirements of the EPA, and Mr. Ganpat must dismantle those parts of his
building that breaks the law.