“There is need for competent contractors” – Reg 8 Chairman

first_imgLinden to Lethem road woesEven as businesses, residents and other users of the Linden to Lethem road continue to fume over the deplorable state of the road, the Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks, has admitted that there is a need for competent contractors to execute these much-needed road works.The deplorable condition of a section of the Linden to Lethem roadIn an interview with Guyana Times on Monday, Fredericks pointed out that oftentimes, these road work contracts are awarded to inexperienced contractors who may not possess the necessary knowledge for building all-weather roads.“We need to have contractors that are knowledgeable about road building and who knows what type of materials to use to for all-weather road. But we have people that may have a truck or two and then they just go and throw stuff and then it’s not compacted and it’s not properly done and we’re back to square one again. Just days ago, the Ministry spend $4 million to repair certain sections of the said [road] and look at the condition of it again,” Fredericks added.He, however, noted that this responsibility of road works and awarding of contracts for such works falls primarily under the purview of the Public Infrastructure Ministry. He added that despite calls by the Regional Administration for funds to be available within its budget for executing regular maintenance works, they have been told by the MOPI that the maintenance of all roads and bridges across the country falls under their Ministry.“So if there’s any work to be done, the Ministry has to be contacted before anything can be done and this can be a very time-consuming process. We had this problem and we are still having it,” he said. “It’s kind of disturbing when we have these types of emergencies to work on and then we have to wait on Ministry to do what has to be done. We [do] not have that type of go-ahead from our Administration to say when an emergency comes up we get into it right away, we have to wait on the Ministry and while the waiting period is on, the residents suffer and that is what I’m not too happy about… that type of slow movements that happens while people suffer,” Fredericks added.Further, Fredericks stated that the Ministry has been selecting the contractors for those works. They also have an engineer on the ground who checks on these works when completed.“We need to understand that even though they may have these engineers I keep saying that some of them they may have their certificates and their diplomas and they only know the theory but now that they have to do the practical, they really can’t manage but we are the ones here who understand what’s happening. We are not getting our full value for what is being spent because I remember hearing that the Ministry spend $4 mil to do that piece of road a few days ago and look how it is now and we still not where we want to be,” he said.Fredericks explained that the recent road works were completed by a businessman who is not a contractor but has equipment that could have assisted. “This was a miner that does mining that they [Ministry] asked to do the work because they have the equipment; they have truck, bulldozers, excavators and they asked him to do it. He is not a road contractor. The Ministry hasn’t dispatched a team to do the work or anything of that sort,” he added.Chairman Fredericks also highlighted that the stretch of road going to Lethem is in a deplorable state. “It’s terrible there. I was assisting some of the very bus men traversing the road in getting their buses out of the pools they were in because I went with a 4×4 pick-up and I was able to help them,” he said.Fredericks also pointed out that no response was received from the MOPI in relation to the recent reports of the road while adding that most of the contact with the Ministry is done through their engineer and the regional authorities have no information if measures are to be taken if the Ministry’s engineer on the ground does not report to them .“So if the engineer does not report back to us we do not know what next steps are. They keep blaming the weather because, with the rainy weather nothing much can be done even though it is true to an extent people still have to live, we have to get food we have to get fuel we have to get stuff into our region. It doesn’t make sense waiting on the weather when work can be done,” he said.On Sunday minibus operators and residents once again complained that the road is in a deplorable condition after only recently being repaired. They expressed frustration over the situation, which continues to create hardships for them and blamed the authorities for giving road contracts to “fly by night” contractors that do not possess the relevant knowledge or equipment to do the job.The Administration was accused of giving contracts to party people that do not even own a spade or a shovel. “They are giving these contracts to persons that don’t have tools and what happens is that the contractors receive the money to do nothing and residents are left to suffer the consequence and nobody cares,” Councillor and resident of Mahdia said.last_img read more

Bizarre desertdwelling fish may have evolved just a couple hundred years ago

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Country Email The middle of the Nevada desert seems an unlikely spot to find a fish. But an underground fissure in scorching-hot Death Valley is the only natural habitat for the endangered Devils Hole pupfish, a silvery blue creature about the size of a pet goldfish.The water inside Devils Hole is consistently a toasty 32°C, hot enough to kill most other fish. For 2 months of the year, the cavern—which opens into a deep subterranean lake—receives no direct sunlight. And yet scientists believe a small population of pupfish has lived there for 10,000 to 20,000 years, hardy survivors from the days when Death Valley was a fertile oasis.Now, evidence is growing that these fish might be far younger than previously assumed: A new study suggests that the Devils Hole pupfish actually colonized its watery cavern somewhere between 105 and 830 years ago, making scientists rethink how it got there in the first place. The findings build upon those of several smaller studies also suggesting a more recent emergence of the Devils Hole pupfish. “The agreement is striking. I would say there’s mounting evidence that they are younger than we originally envisioned,” says Craig Stockwell, a biologist at North Dakota State University in Fargo who published a similar but smaller genetic analysis in 2014.“One of the major questions we’ve had about this species for years is how this species originally made it into Devils Hole,” says Sean Lema, a biologist at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, who was not involved in the project. “To date, this is really the best attempt to figure out from the genetic evidence, the divergence of this [species].”Despite its suspected youth, the Devils Hole pupfish has developed some unique features. It’s smaller and less aggressive than its kin. It has larger eyes and darker scales, and it lacks the pelvic fins found on every other desert-dwelling pupfish. If Martin’s analysis is correct, the fish has evolved these traits all within the last thousand years or less—remarkably quickly on an evolutionary timescale.“I think what’s driving the uniqueness of the Devils Hole pupfish is the uniqueness of the Devils Hole habitat,” Martin says. “It’s one of the most extreme fish habitats I’ve ever seen in nature.” The fish spawn only on a submerged shelf that’s just a few meters on each side, the smallest natural habitat of any vertebrate. Food is scarce in the dark cavern. Such a challenging environment could put extra pressure on the pupfish to change more quickly, although it’s unclear how all of the adaptations are beneficial.Martin emphasizes that the findings are preliminary, and that further studies are necessary to untangle the evolutionary history of the Death Valley pupfish. For instance, it’s still unclear how pupfish colonized Devils Hole in the first place if floods didn’t wash them in. Martin suggests human intervention could have played a role—Native Americans in the area ate pupfish and might have moved some of them between springs. Birds, too, could have inadvertently transferred fish eggs from one pool to another.It’s unclear what the future holds for the Devils Hole pupfish—its already small numbers have dipped in recent years, and scientists aren’t sure why. But for now, it’s still holding on. “When I look at this habitat,” says Martin, “I’m amazed.” Devils Hole pupfish within Devils Hole in southern Nevada. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) “Our new estimate of the younger age in a way makes this species even more fascinating because it has so many of these unique traits relative to other pupfish,” says Christopher Martin, a biologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who led the study.Pupfish first arrived in Death Valley during a wet period, probably when water joined the area to lakes or rivers elsewhere. But as the water dried up and the area turned to desert, the pupfish became isolated in a smattering of springs. Like Darwin’s finches, pupfish in different pools have evolved different traits and become distinct species over the years. They’ve mixed with each other only occasionally, when floods temporarily join isolated pools.Devils Hole is especially isolated, and the pupfish population there is particularly small, ranging from 35 to 548 fish in the remote cavern since official recordkeeping began in the 1970s. Their survival has been heralded as an evolutionary anomaly, as such populations usually become severely inbred and die out. “All we know about conservation genetics suggests that these populations of very small size should not be able to survive in the long term,” Martin says.But the long estimate for the Devils Hole pupfish’s survival (and by extension, that of their relatives throughout Death Valley) was based on when events like floods could have brought them there, not their evolutionary history. Martin and his colleagues turned to genetics instead.To figure out just when the Devils Hole pupfish diverged from its kin, the researchers sequenced 13,000 different stretches of DNA from 56 pupfish from around Death Valley and the world. Those data allowed them to reconstruct the area’s pupfish family tree and calculate when the different species emerged.Although scientists previously believed the first pupfish species came to Death Valley several million years ago, these analyses suggest they arrived around the time of the valley’s most recent flood, just 10,000 years ago. The analysis also suggests the Devils Hole pupfish became isolated from other pupfish in Death Valley fewer than a thousand years ago, much more recently than expected—long after floods could have carried them into their remote cavern, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.last_img read more