Guyana to strengthen sea defences with $5.1 billion investment

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Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh

By Shaquille Bourne

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) –  The government has proposed a $5.1 billion allocation in budget 2021 to bolster the nation’s sea defences.

Senior minister within the office of the president with responsibility for finance, Dr Ashni Singh disclosed this during his budget presentation on Friday.

The $383.1 billion budget was presented under the theme: ‘A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism, and Resilience’.

“Earmarked for this year are the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of sea and river defence infrastructure in areas including Dantzig, Prospect, Content, Fairfield, Zealand, Cane Garden, Uitvlugt, Anna Catherina, No. 63 Beach, Manila, and Bygeval,” Dr Singh told the National Assembly.

The minister said the administration will continue to closely monitor activities along the shoreline with the reactivated sea defence rangers and the use of drone technology to ensure quick response to avert breaches.

Further, the minister added that groynes and the restoration of mangrove forests will be pursued as the administration has found that hard-infrastructure solutions are not only expensive, but do not adapt to the rise in sea levels and climate change realities.

Nevertheless, $50 million has been set aside to build rubble groynes and to conduct topographic surveys.

Dr Singh was adamant that destruction along the Mahaicony foreshore was exacerbated by the negligence of the former administration, thereby leading to the flooding of farmlands and residences, loss of livestock and property.

“Within two days of taking office, our ministers were deployed to Dantzig, to grapple with the devastation of massive breached sections … The previous administration was negligent in anticipating and addressing the situation adequately, causing the new government to deploy emergency arrangements to seal the breach which had remained opened and threatening for over one month previously,” the finance minister said.

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