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Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, today met with a team from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), at his Regent Street office, to discuss a possible project which will see Georgetown benefiting tremendously from improved drainage in the city.

The three-member team will be in Guyana for six weeks during which they will be meeting with several key stakeholders to aid them with their data collection for Georgetown’s drainage capacity.

The meeting stemmed from a request made by the Ministry in 2015 to JICA for assistance through its grant aid program. The estimated cost of the project is US $13M and works are expected to commence in 2019, once the Japanese government is satisfied with the consultants’ findings.

Chief Executive Officer for the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Mr. Fredrick Flatts indicated that during the team’s time in Guyana they will be able to commence gathering the necessary information for their report.

 “During this first visit, the team will be able to know where they are as it relates to the information already available and where they need to go as it relates to additional information needed to get the ball rolling.” Mr. Flatts said.

The project will see the construction of four pump stations in key areas around Georgetown, the expansion of the pumping station and the addition of a pumping unit at Liliendall, the purchasing of a dredger, two sludge pumps, two hydraulic excavators, five dump trucks and several capacity building seminars in operation and maintenance of drainage facilities and institutional strengthening workshops.

Agri. Minister flanked by JICA Consultants and other officials

Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder indicated that the consultants will benefit from the studies carried out by the Dutch Risk Reduction, the team who visited Guyana from the Netherlands in 2016.

“Given the fact that the team from the Netherlands carried out quite an extensive study of Georgetown’s drainage channels and systems, your team will be able to benefit from that data. It would also be helpful for Guyana in the future if your team would not only focus on Georgetown but the outskirts of the city and how flooding in these areas would impact flooding in Georgetown and vice versa.” Minister Holder said.

 Assistant City Engineer from the Georgetown City Council, Kenson Boston, indicated that the city engineers’ department is on board with the project and the team from JICA. “We are fully committed to working with the team and are anticipating a positive response from JICA after the team would have completed their evaluations of the city.” Mr. Boston said.

Projects of this nature have been given high priority by the Government since the massive flood in January 2015 which claimed 34 lives and saw economic damages exceeding US $465 M.

Also present at the meeting were Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis, CARICOM JICA Expert, Tatsuya Morita, Engineers from CTI Engineering International Co., Ltd. Tsuyoshi Matsushita and Hirofumi Tanaka, Agriculture Sector Development Unit Civil Engineer, Raymond Latchman, Foreign Service Officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vanessa Dickenson and Rosshanda Bagot and Assistant City Engineer, Georgetown Mayor and City Council, Kenson Boston.

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