In an effort to carry out its mandate to provide adequate drainage in Guyana, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has embarked on a nationwide campaign to have persons illegally occupying areas along drainage reserves removed.
Section 26 of the Drainage and Irrigation Act (1) Cap 64:04 states “all lands within twelve feet of the toe of any dam or within a like distance of any part of any work, ….shall vest in the authority free from encumbrance and shall be the property of the Authority”.
Additionally, Section 61 of the act states that “Any person who – (b) willfully performs any act where the efficient operation of any work is impaired; shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for three months”.
Chief Executive Officer of NDIA, Mr. Fredrick Flatts indicated that many projects are to be implemented as the year progresses but this is a step that has to be taken.
“As we continue to work towards permanently improving the drainage situation of Guyana’s coast, NDIA has to get the ball rolling on specific projects. With persons occupying…and illegally occupying structures on these reserves, we are unable to get these projects off the ground. We do not want to have a case where the rainy season comes and we have cost-imposing issues to deal with. We want persons to understand that this step is necessary to get our 2017 budgeted drainage programme up and running.” Mr. Flatts said.
Further, NDIA wishes to advise persons illegally occupying drainage reserves, that charges will be filed against them and they will face the brunt of the law as occupying drainage reserves has, in the past, caused the authority severe disruptions as it relates to carrying out drainage works, programmes, plans, and activities.
Given the number of unlawfully constructed structures for domestic and commercial purposes, drainage works have been hindered. As a result, many areas have been prone to heavy flooding which resulted in millions being injected to offset damages to homes and other businesses.