Wednesday, 19 June 2013
One dead, two critical - in Mabura trail mishap » THE police are investigating a fatal accident that...
Several opened mails found at home of Berbice pos... » POLICE in Berbice are investigating the discovery ...
At Berbice Assizes… Pharmacist accused of rape f... » AN ACCUSED rapist was freed also of indecent assau...
Protest outside Albion court as accused wife kille... » SOME friends and family members of Prabhudial Tara...
Two husbands treated differently in domestic abuse... » TWO separate domestic abuse cases were called befo...
Guyana, Rwanda share experiences to improve solid ... » AT the invitation of the United Nations Developmen...
New $16.1M high-tech DHB control system undergoes ... » THE new Programme Logic Control (PLC) System insta...
To ensure higher level of service… $158.4M Polic... » COMMANDER-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President ...
FAO recognises Guyana for meeting anti-hunger targ... » GUYANA is among 18 countries recognised at a speci...
|Six-member ministerial group interacts with Region 2 residents|
|Sunday, 24 June 2012 20:27|
- addresses their concerns
PART of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPPC) government’s policy of good governance has been its strategy to reach out to the citizenry, as this gives the party a better understanding of residents’ needs, and influences the planning of its development agenda. The latest outreach activity was to Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), where six ministers fanned out to engage residents.
Ministers of Local Government and Regional Development, Ganga Persaud and Norman Whittaker; Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai; Public Works Minister Robeson Benn; Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, and Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy interacted with residents in several villages, Good Hope, Lima, Cotton Field, Supenaam, New Road, Anna Regina, Better Success and Mainstay/Whyaka included.
Residents were told of the implications of the $21B, 2012 budget cuts, and the way forward, as government will be pursuing the execution of essential development programmes.
Health Minister Bheri Ramsarran explained to residents the reason for the outreach, pointing out that media coverage has portrayed several problems within the region. He said that the reports had led to the outreach, adding that while the majority of the problems could be solved locally within the various communities, there was need for residents and officials to work together.
At Good Hope, Persaud reminded residents of their unique ability to live and work together in their ethnic diversities as a single people.
The residents took advantage of the outreach to air some of their views and concerns. Some issues were related to river revetment, roads, electricity supply, and opportunities for young people.
Persaud urged residents to take advantage of the community centre ground to organise activities and games for the youths. He also addressed the other issues in a manner agreeable to the residents.
There were complaints that one person was attempting to claim lands that belonged to other residents. In his response, Persaud gave a commitment to investigate the issue.
At Anna Regina, Benn addressed the issue of ongoing sea defence works, and explained that it all could not be done at once. He pointed out that much financial assistance was garnered from donor agencies to execute the works.
At Mainstay/Whyaka, Ms. Sukhai focused on the slowdown of Amerindian projects due to budget cuts. She focused particularly on the community development plans which have been stalled for a while.
However, the Minister noted that while the budget cuts would hamper this and other projects, Government remains committed to the development of its people, and would continue to work to complete its planned development agenda.
Conducting the exercise with the objective of engaging residents on other areas of concern to them, Dr Ramsammy met and interacted with residents of New Road and Lima, Essequibo Coast.
“Among the big contentions that will evolve to greater tensions and will affect us wherever we live is the electricity situation in Linden,” Dr Ramsammy said.
He asserted that the national average consumption is 45 kilowatts, whilst the average consumption for Linden is 150 Kilowatts. “Two to three times more than those on the national grid, who pay $64 per kilowatt,” Ramsammy explained.
He asserted that government, in its 2012 budget estimates, sought to bring equality to all citizens by reducing the size of the subsidy for electricity to Lindeners by $2B, and instead use the $2B as payments for the increased pension wages.
The Agriculture Minister explained that whilst government has, over the years, tried its utmost to deliver fair services countrywide, irrespective of creed, religion, or political persuasion, the opposition sought to destroy such contributions.
During the interaction, residents commended government for what has been done thus far, but asked Minister Ramsammy to bring further relief in the areas of drainage and irrigation; payments for paddy sold to millers, and a reduction of the pensionable age, so that farmers will be able to enjoy pension benefits.
In response to their concerns, Minister Ramsammy said Government recognised the plight of rice farmers, and sought to put a mechanism in place.
“Farmers should not be meant to wait so long to get their monies. Whilst we recognise that there is a system to be followed, we have worked to minimise the time they wait… Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture has made publications in the newspaper, requesting farmers who are owed to come in.
“We ask that they notify us before or after the deal is made with millers, to ensure they are paid; but not many respond to such calls,” the Agriculture Minister asserted.
He added that it is in the best interest of farmers to notify the Ministry of millers who owe them for their paddy, and unnecessary and persistent delays in payment of such monies would be dealt with by the ministry.
“Government recognises the importance of farmers receiving their monies. That is why they came to the rescue of farmers… One may remember the case of MRL owing farmers approximately $500M… Government assisted by providing MRL with a loan, and paying the farmers directly,” the Agriculture Minister explained.
On the issue of reducing the pensionable age, the Minister explained that there have been widespread calls for a reduction in the age at which pension is paid.
“Government is currently in process of investigating the sustainability of such a measure, should it be implemented,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister explained that urgent drainage and irrigation works will be executed on the Essequibo Coast shortly, specifically at critical areas; and alluded to the situation residents on the East Coast of Demerara face.
“During times of severe rainfall, those residing on the East Coast of Demerara and West Coast of Berbice experience flooding… The project to bring relief to them (The Cunha Canal Project) was halted when the joint parliamentary opposition voted $1 for the LCDS projects… This means that during such times (of flooding), they will experience the worst,” Minister Ramsammy said.
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud, during the outreach, also met with residents of Cotton Field, who expressed dissatisfaction that the town council of Region Two is not executing the necessary works in the communities, specifically in the vending areas.
The Local Government Minister informed the gathering that he recognised drainage issues exist because of defective machinery. As such, the Ministry has employed a mechanic, who will soon visit the area to service the equipment, so that works can commence.
“We sat with the Minister of Agriculture and a pledge was made to procure the use of a mini-excavator, which will help also with the process of drainage and irrigation,” Minister Persaud said.
Addressing the issue of the town council not executing the necessary works in the communities, the Minister urged persons to pay their rates and taxes, as the monies collected are used by the council to execute such works. Therefore, if there is poor rate collection, the council will not be able to do all that is required of them, as they receive from central government only a small contribution towards such works.
Budget cuts and way forward
Minister Persaud informed residents that it was government’s intention to ensure that everyone becomes computer literate. As such, Government developed a programme which will see every family receiving a laptop with Internet connectivity, along with the requisite training to become proficient in its use.
He added that the joint parliamentary opposition used their one-seat majority to reduce the budgetary allocation for the One Laptop per Family project to $1.
The Local Government Minister further explained that the projects - the OLPF, the Hinterland Electrification Project, and the laying of the Fibre Optic Cable -- with the latter two falling under the Low Carbon Development Strategy Fund -- were also cut from the 2012 National Budget.
“Government also realises that to keep a computer working, electricity is needed… Government was not only targeting persons on the electricity grid, but also those in far-flung hinterland communities with no electricity… The provision of solar panels and the laying of the cable would have seen such people receiving a laptop, electricity and Internet connectivity,” Minister Persaud said.
He said that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has signalled its commitment to assist with developmental projects.
“Government held discussions with the Chinese Government pertaining to the supply of the laptops for the OLPF project, and they pledged their commitment… because the budget was reduced to $1. We have asked for and have solicited the help of volunteers who will help in the administrative realms to ensure the project continues to roll out,” Minister Persaud said.
The Chinese have agreed to gift 30,000 laptops to Guyana. He added that government will be continuing with its development programme as best it can, as members of the government realise the need to bring some relief to the people.
By the conclusion of the ministerial outreach, residents were satisfied they were afforded the opportunity to meet with the Ministers and have their issues addressed. (GINA)
|Last Updated on Sunday, 24 June 2012 21:25|
More Top Stories
- One dead, two critical - in Mabura trail mishap
- Several opened mails found at home of Berbice postman - including utility bills, Christmas cards and correspondence from U.S. embassy addressed to several persons in the New Amsterdam district
- At Berbice Assizes… Pharmacist accused of rape freed - after victim absents self from court
- Protest outside Albion court as accused wife killer appears
- Two husbands treated differently in domestic abuse cases - one placed on $20,000 bail for calling his wife a ‘cross’
- Guyana, Rwanda share experiences to improve solid waste - and sustainable forest management
- New $16.1M high-tech DHB control system undergoes successful test run
- To ensure higher level of service… $158.4M Police Training Centre commissioned - President chides GPF for not practising effective policing
- FAO recognises Guyana for meeting anti-hunger targets - three years in advance
- State-of-the-art forensic lab to open soon - Rohee says highly qualified staff already selected, expensive scientific equipment already here
- PPP accuses AFC, APNU of supporting criminals
- Pomeroon farmers to export coconut water to Trinidad soon – according to RDC councillor Da Silva
- Former Mayor of Anna Regina dies
- ‘Terrorist’ Colin Jones convicted of Health Ministry 2009 arson
- Alleged woman beating… No place for rogue cops in GPF - declares Home Affairs Ministry
- President Ramotar urges emulation of Enmore Martyrs
- Woman perishes in Plaisance fire, two homes flattened
- First Lady treats New Amsterdam prisoners to sumptuous lunch
- Guyana’s economy growing exceptionally well- Global Competitiveness Report
- COP shot during firearm issuance at Eve Leary - Intestines damaged, mother vows “end of police work”