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MANGROVE DESTRUCTION: ‘It has gone beyond the acceptable limits’- Harmon…

The Leader of the Opposition is calling for ongoing works to be halted at Malgre Tout/Versailles on the West Bank of Demerara as well as urgent mitigation measures to be put in place to prevent flooding. This is following the destruction of mangroves on the bank of the Demerara River to facilitate the shore base being constructed by TriStar Incorporated. 

During a visit to the site, Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon who was accompanied by members of parliament Khemraj Ramjattan and Ganesh Mahipaul said he was outraged at the destruction of the mangroves. 

“It has gone beyond the acceptable limits, now if that has happened, then there is really no conversation to take place, other than the project should be stopped,” Harmon said, “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,”  as he looked on from a boat to the land. 

                                                                                                           (A Stabroek News Photo)

Harmon’s statement came also as it was reported by the press that the Chairman of Guyana’s Sea Defence Board Brigadier (ret’d) Gary Beaton reportedly claimed that the company’s clearance of the mangroves went beyond the permission granted to it. 

The Leader of the Opposition likened the destruction of the mangroves which serves as nature’s sea and river defence as symbolic to the “kinds of destruction” being done “at 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, these are by an large rural areas and rural people, they would not have had the opportunity to see what is taking place here” Harmon said as he pointed out that community could be exposed to flooding during unusual high tides. 

Harmon said that this could have been prevented if there was greater scrutiny and monitoring by several state agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, “They are not protecting us, they are granting licenses too easily for these major projects without the necessary scrutiny and without the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure citizens are projected,” Harmon said. 

He also made a call for the permit and or licenses for this particular project to be made public. The Leader of the Opposition said he plans to raise the issue in the National Assembly through questions to relevant ministers of government.