Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon led a team of Opposition Parliamentarians to Malgre Tout/ Versailles, West Bank Demerara where a private developer has cleared mangroves to construct a shore base.
Concerns were raised after the developer cleared a large number of mangroves on the riverbank in violation of his agreement.
Residents are fearful that they could now face flood waters because of the businessman’s decision. The mangroves serve as a natural defence against the tides.
Opposition Leader Joe Harmon said the project should be stopped.
“The project should be stopped until such time that mitigation has taken place. That they have put things in place to prevent properties on this side of the river, from being flooded at a high tide. And this is going to happen, once the tides get to a certain level and worse yet the koker man fall to sleep, is worse yet, all the communities are flooded.” Mr. Harmon said from a speedboat in the Demerara river.
Mr. Harmon said the clearing of the mangroves could significantly impact the livelihoods of residents on the West Bank.
“This is really a disaster, an environmental disaster, a security disaster, a disaster for persons who are living on the West Bank in the areas Malgre Tout, Schoonard, Pouderoyen, and all of those villages where this destruction has taken place,” Mr. Harmon said
He said while the country should welcome development, that development should not take place in such a way that the lives of citizens are at risk.
“I believe what has happened here, is a symbol, is an example of the kind of disregard we now have for human life and human safety on the altar of development, I believe that development is important for us but it must not be done at the expense of the life and the livelihood of people in these communities,’ the Opposition Leader noted.
The Minister of Public Works is expected to address the issue at a press conference today.