The government’s apparent reluctance to boost development in Region 10 is politically-motivated, according to APNU leader David Granger, who says there is need for a new development plan for the region.
At a coalition press conference last Friday, Granger charged that the collapse of physical infrastructure, school systems and the spread of poverty throughout the region is a political manoeuvre by the PPP/C administration because it did not enjoy political support from residents in the region. He noted that it was the same for other regions affiliated with other political parties.
He stated that there was an apparent erosion of the education sector, with the large number of dropouts in schools, failures at exams and the deterioration of infrastructure. “Some schools still lack running water; classrooms are without lights… some are physically unsafe or insanitary and repairs to others are incomplete,” he said.
Employment availability is also meagre in the region even though companies like RUSAL and BOSAI had provided relief, he said, while adding that the government has failed to fulfil its promises of new investments and the materialisation of the proposed school of mining. He proposed that a river ambulance should be provided to the region to deliver riverine services to areas such as Calcuni, Kimbia, Wiruni and Sand Hills because the region is essentially a riverine one. He also stated that the collapse of some roads was causing residents to pay higher minibus fares and spend longer periods commuting.
Granger added that the PPP/C administration had promised to implement a five-year plan which would reduce the region’s dependency on mining; the plan had targeted the agriculture, infrastructure, and manufacturing, transport and tourism sectors. However, he said, the plan was never fully implemented. “The Partnership laments, also, that the PPP/C administration has still not implemented the essential elements of the 21st August 2012 agreement between the Central Government and the Regional Administration 17 months after signing it,” he stated, referring to the deal brokered to end the unrest in the town sparked by a plan to increase electricity tariffs and the killing of three men during a related protest.
In light of the situation, Granger said that there was need for a new plan to resume the development of the region.
APNU MP Renis Morian also said that the government had given an investor that was interested in reconstructing the region’s airstrip a “royal runabout,” causing a pullout on the investor’s end.