Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Infrastructure
(Aired 25 January 2006)

    Last week to my surprise my friend Mr. Aasgar Ally called me and told me that he was in Guyana I immediately went to pick him up so that he can have lunch with me and we can talk about things, mostly politics and the economy. So I jumped into my vehicle and headed into the number one canal to pick him up; now Asgar does not live at the very back of the number one canal he lives a little more than half of the way up and on my way to his house I saw some goings on which left me totally speechless, first of all whilst at the front of the number one canal there was no water standing on the land i.e. there was no flooding, when I got to Asgar's house around 5 miles in the No. 1 Canal, the water was around a foot deep on the land, this told me that the number one canal was not functioning properly, so I began looking at it as I was coming out with Asgar who was telling me that he had lost a second crop in 13 months, first of all the middle of the number one canal is silted up at several points, I saw the water straining to go forward, I also saw that the water was very high starting around 3-4 miles from the front I could see that from the height of the water compared to the road.

    Now you have to understand that I have driven up the number one canal some thousands of times, I used to drive on it almost every day for nearly 20 years, since it formed the entrance to the back end of Versailles and I was working at Versailles when the road into the number one and number two canals were built in the 70's and are still standing, not like some of these new roads that are being built by corruption and incompetence and last two-three years, so when I saw the water at the back of the number one canal near where Asgar lives almost to the height of the road I knew that something was wrong.

   Looking at this drainage system on the West Bank on the drive back from Asgar's house to my house around 5-6 miles, I saw what we in the sugar industry refer to as "wrong wuk" all the way through. The number one canal used to have water gauges some of the old timers will remember them, they were wooden gauges located approximately every mile which told us how high the water in the Canal was as you went from the front to the back so if the number one had its gauges I would have been able to see what was wrong immediately i.e. where the blockages were to my surprise there no gauges in the entire number one Canal but there used to be at least six, on inquiring from other engineers I discovered that there are also no gauges in the Mahaica, the Abary or the Mahaicony rivers, now ladies and gentlemen having gauges in the drainage trenches tells us where or if there are blockages in the system, without them it would be like trying to tell the time without a watch in the jungle where you cannot see the sun.

   Secondly I saw a hydraulic excavator trying to dig the number one canal, probably a propaganda exercise to show the people there that someone was doing something, now this is a farce ladies and gentlemen, the number one canal is over 100 ft wide and this hymac could not even reach out from its perch on the road 20 feet into the trench, all it was doing was creating a hole at the side of the Canal which will only collapse the road in due course, so they were not solving drainage problems but creating road problems, these wide trenches need long boom draglines not hydraulic excavators, it is a waste of time I actually saw shrimp grass growing in the shallow centre of the number one canal at areas immediately behind where this hydraulic excavator was digging but could not reach, showing clearly that the centre of the number one is shallow and that we were wasting time, fuel and money digging it.....you can see it here in this video we took that day.

   I saw that the Versailles back lands were being drained out through a cut in the dam into the number one canal, I later discovered that this was necessary since the Demerara harbour Bridge had blocked up the Meerzorgen sluice's outfall channel, now the bridge has a dredge, and it is the bridge that is blocking the Meerzorgen outfall channel so why cant they accept responsibility and undo the siltation caused by the bridge, they caused it and they should fix it the people of La Grange will know exactly what I mean, but the dredge instead of being at the mouth of the Mahaicony or any of the other channels requiring dredging such as Meerzorgen, Mahaiciny, Mahaica removing is sitting idle at the bridge doing nothing! In fact I would buy 3-4 more of these dredges for future purposes.   

  Clearly our Ministry of Agriculture which controls the D&I Board is doing nothing!

   I saw bridge piles across the number one canal blocked by weeds restricting the flow of water going to the Demerara River, I saw that the two doors of the number one canal were not fully open the doors were hanging in the water holding back the flow to the Demerara river, this lazy practice of not opening the koker doors fully causes a significant restriction to the out flow of water since you are changing an open channel flow into a culvert flow a considerable restriction, I made a rough drawing for Roy Babel, I hope that it is clear enough for you to understand it, if you look at the open channel flow you will see that the centre of the flow is wider and stronger than if you place a restriction at the top of the flow when that happens you create drag and end up with a culvert flow which substantially reduces the flow.

    At the head of the number one canal a long boom dragline a 22RB is parked and less than half a mile away in front of Komal Chand's house there was another parked 22RB, I don't know if they are in working order, if they are not working given our situation there can be no excuse, they should have been put in perfect working order for this rainy season just in case, these draglines are the real tools needed to help the people in the number one and two canals, the Mahaica, the Mahaicony and especially the Abary rivers not Hymacs Dr. Luncheon is no Tony Vieira with 35 years experience in this sort of thing, so I can actually forgive him for feeling that his engineers by bringing 14 hymacs can solve these problems, it's the engineers that are at fault, have we fired even one? After the flooding last year and this year have any of you heard of one engineer or functionary in the ministry of agriculture or the D&I board who has been fired I haven't! Leaders must know certain things from advise they get from their professionals and it is gross incompetence and deception and an embarrassment for Luncheon to be telling the people in this nation that he and his cabinet with these 14 Hymacs will solve their problems, it will not!!

   What are the solutions? Well first we have to resurvey all these rivers and install GD gauges in them, so that we will know how high the water is at various places along them, then we have to get long boom draglines place them on both sides of these rivers and excavate them to the original design parameters and to hell with the property of anyone who are squatting on these reserves that were left by law to allow for the excavation of these important canals, a few people squatting on drainage reserves must not cause national disasters andf affect thousands they must be moved! Only then we will be doing something to solve these problems not the nonsense I hear being planned, and which I have showed you here are useless under these circumstances.

   I want to remind Dr. Luncheon about something, when the cane grove dam gave away in 1966 the PPP, then in opposition, made a huge furore of the incompetence of the PNC they even got Fenton Ramsahoye to take the government to court for damages suffered by farmers so Luncheon begging for a break from criticism by the opposition is really hilarious. That is what oppositions do especially one as angry as the PNC are!

Finally even though this comment has gone on for far longer than I wanted I want to know which genius decided to allow the GDF to drive speed boats along the conservancy dam to stop phantom vandals from interfering with the inlets, those outboard engines leaving the huge wake they do is doing more damage than any vandal could, ladies and gentlemen all I see is a transparent attempt not to allow engineers from Gape, or people from the media etc from seeing that the Lama conservancy dam is in imminent danger of failing this spurious claim that someone has attempted to sabotage the inlets is suspect, I am not saying that It did not happen mind you, we have idiots on both sides but I am saying that it does not make sense. And I am saying that those speed boats are doing far more damage than any saboteurs ever could!