CONTRACTOR BK International has been asked to return the sand removed from the # 63 Beach, which forms part of the beach’s sea defence, Minster within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar disclosed during a visit to Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Wednesday.
Minister Indar said no application was made or approval given from the Sea Defence Board for removal of the sand. The Sea Defence Board is the legal body that has responsibility for granting permission for the removal of sand or other materials from the country’s reefs.
According to the Sea Defence Act, Chapter 64:02, Act 11 of 1953, “No person shall, without the previous written sanction of the board, make or cause or permit or suffer to be made— (a) any drain, trench or cutting in the earth so as to affect any sea defence; (b) any construction, erection, alteration or thing in, about or upon any sea defence.”
“Around May 2, we got reports of a contractor removing sand from the reef in 63 and taking it to a construction site in Corriverton for sea defence works there. This contractor, BK International, was doing that. This is the reef, it’s not privately owned, it is sea defence reserve protected by law and they were digging it out as you can see a pond here of it, they dug it out,” Minister Indar explained.
He noted that since receiving information that the contractor was removing the sand, the Sea Defence Board swiftly moved to issue the company with a cease order. The order also requested that the contractor refill the site from where the sand was removed.
Minister Indar indicated that while the company did not seek permission to remove any material from the site, it did seek permission from the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to utilise the access road to get to their equipment from the # 63 Beach where it previously conducted work, to the Corriverton site where Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) contracted work is ongoing.
“From what the NDC Chairman has said to me, what was requested of the NDC was permission to use the access road; nothing to do with removal of material. Now the NDC does not have the power to grant the removal of material from a reef, it is the Sea Defence Board, so for you to remove any thing or destroy any of the land or so on, an application would have had to be made to the Sea Defence Board and none was made,” he explained.
Additionally, Minister Indar stated that BK International in removing the material has also caused significant damage to the “earthen dam” leading up to the front of the sea defence. The dam which was once smooth is now destroyed due to the heavy tractors traversing that area.
“They took these large trucks and they used the front, close to the sea defence there to get out with the materials, and they destroyed that piece too by the heavy trucks moving through the earthen dam there. That dam was recently made by a pervious contractor, a different contractor, who built that sea defence there and BK’s contractor has destroyed the dam,” the minister said. The ministry has not take any legal action against the contractor as it has given the contractor some time to return the material and fix the dam that was destroyed. Minister Indar will meet with the contractor today.