A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is calling for the promulgation of a plan to meet the social, economic and political needs of the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region, so that it does not become a “Cinderella” province.
Leader of the coalition David Granger, at a press conference yesterday, said that the region has become a zone of “gross governmental neglect”.
Granger warned of the region becoming a ‘Cinderella’ province, and when asked about the reference afterwards he said it meant “unwanted stepchild.”
Granger charged that the Region Seven’s mining and logging resources have been exploited and that a comprehensive development plan must be designed to develop the material resources and improve the quality of life for residents.
APNU MP Dawn Hastings informed that while some villages in Region Seven are being developed, most have made no significant progress. “Some benefited under the PPP/C Government however most have made no significant progress,” she said.
She stated that the Waramadong Secondary School is currently overcrowded and it also has insufficiently trained teachers. “As a result of that, most of the children dropout as early as when they reach Grade 9 [Form 3], all because they find themselves in a situation when they are given SBAs they have to have some equipment which the school cannot offer and so they get frustrated and go into the mining fields,” she said.
Hastings also said that with regard to health in the region, too much money is being spent to charter flights for trivial matters that can be addressed there.
“Government continues to spend a lot on money to charter flights whereas those things could have been attended to at the Kamarang Hospital… Little accidents that could have been tended to right here have to be flown to Georgetown and then when they come to the public hospital after they have been tended they would be sent to the Amerindian Hostel and they would stay there for a long time until the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs can have a full flight load to take them back to their home,” she argued.
Meanwhile, APNU Shadow Minster for Health Dr George Norton said that monitoring of mining activities is “practically impossible in certain areas in the country.” He said that because of this, persons in the Upper Mazaruni are being affected.
“We have a situation where when orders are given to certain miners to cease mining the next day they continue to mine, because monitoring is practically impossible in certain areas in this country and as a result of that we have the ill effects affecting particularly the indigenous communities in the Upper Mazaruni,” he said.