REGION Three’s regional officials have reported that last Saturday, sometime in the evening, the winch that is used to open and close one of the sluices in the Nismes, West Bank Demerara area, has been stolen.
According to a release, sometime between Sunday night and early Monday morning, it was also discovered that another winch was stolen from another sluice located in the La Grange/Nismes area.
Given the location of the structures and the size and weight of the winches, officials have said that it is most likely that the person or persons carrying out these heinous acts gained access to the structures by means of the Demerara River when the tide is high.
Regional officials have since been working to acquire winches to replacement the ones that were stolen.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, after learning about the situation, is urging persons to desist from such acts.
He noted that tampering with government structures are a criminal offence and persons found deliberately tampering with any such structure will be made to face the full force of the law.
“It is quite alarming that this has occurred twice in three days. This is very serious and can easily have a very negative effect on the lives of farmers and residents in these and other surrounding areas. We will be ramping up our surveillance operations at all of the structures in the region to try and ensure this does not occur again,” Minister Mustapha said.
Minister Mustapha also noted that the areas that are drained by these structures are now in a very vulnerable position should these be any heavy rainfall for an extended period, given the fact that the structure cannot function until the winches are replaced.
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has been working with Region Three officials to remedy the situation as soon as possible, the release said.
Sluices are the main structures used to avert flooding in most of the Coastal Regions in Guyana.