What the people say…Residents at Parika speak about their problems

This week on ‘What the People Say’ we asked residents at Parika what issues are affecting them and got the following responses:

20090209indraIndra Dayal, vendor
`I am from Maria’s Pleasure, Wakenaam and the road there really needs fixing. It is in a deplorable condition and you cannot even walk and drive there properly. A lot of vehicles are damaged because of the potholes. The last time the road was fixed was five years ago. Last year the authorities throw some stuff and when the rain fall all wash out. We also have a problem with the drainage. All the trench block up and during the rain we would get flooding and farmers would lose their produce.’

20090209nankishoreNankishore Naniram, farmer

`Nineteen farmers at Maria’s Pleasure, Movar in Wakenaam, have about 3000 acres of land close to the seaside as coconut estate and for provision and cash crop farming. Right now the sea dam is breaking away and every time there is a spring tide the water would come in and destroy the crops and even the coconut trees are dying. We depend on farming for a living and we suffer plenty losses because of the sea dam. We complained to the Wakenaam Neighbourhood Democratic Council but we are not getting any help from anywhere. We also raised the issue with two ministers when they last visited the island about five years ago and they promised to tie up the dam and up to now they didn’t do anything.’

20090209abuAbu Shamma, security guard
`I have been living at Blake, three and a half miles from the Parika junction for the past 36 years and up to now we never had electricity there. It [electricity] stopped one and a half miles from Blake. Residents formed delegations and went to the previous administration as well as the present one and they keep saying they do not have money. This has cause large-scale livestock, citrus and cane farmers to move out of the area. The area also has poor drainage and because of that I was forced to stop farming several years ago. The authorities send people to clean the trench but they can only clean the top. They need to get machinery to dig to the bottom. It is very expensive to maintain a farm right now because of the price for insecticide, fertilizer and other products. I think government should have outlets so farmers can access the products at a cheap price. Government need to do more to assist farmers. They do not visit this area.’

20090209georgeGeorge Washington, farmer
`I am involved in integrated farming at Parika [Old Road] and there is no proper drainage in the area. The main drainage trenches on both sides of the public road are blocked up and if they dig them they can take off a lot of water. The sluice is nearby and if the drainage was not blocked up the sluice could have drained the entire land. My farm was affected by flooding during the latter part of December and the early part of January. I lost nine piglets, 65 ducklings as well as squash, ochro and over 200 roots of papayas. I have 16 fish ponds where I was rearing about 1000 hassar and tilapia in each pond and during the flood a lot of the fish swam away. I am still to determine how much is left but I know it is a great loss because I used to catch about 70 fish one time from each pond, now I am barely catching about five or six.’

20090209godfreyGodfrey Washington, farmer

`I live in Georgetown but I grew up at Parika where I am engaged in integrated farming and would soon launch the farm under the name: ‘Mainstream Enterprise.’ I am also a member of the Aqua-Culture Association. Right now the residents in this area are facing a problem with an adequate potable water supply. I can recall that there was an overhead tank at Hyde Park Village about one mile away and we used to have water flowing from the lines. Then they abandoned that tank and were supplying water from the pump at Tuschen but now the population increase and the water can only reach up to a point. There is a smaller pump at Blake but residents are only getting a limited supply. I noticed though that GWI [Guyana Water Inc.] was putting down pipe lines in the area and I hope that the water woes would be over soon.’

20090209vinsleyVinsley Roberts, businessman
`Drainage is a big problem here at Parika and when the rain falls some places that are low would be flooded and people who are doing farming would suffer losses. The local authority knows about it and sometimes they would dig the drains in some areas with a small Bobcat. To me they need a bigger machinery to stretch across the trench and dig deeper. I also feel that street lights are needed in some sections; only the Hydronie area and on the highway have street lights. The other areas are very dark and because of that a lot of petty crimes are being committed. It is not safe for residents to walk alone at nights. Residents are also suffering from a shortage of potable water supply. I noticed that pipelines were installed last year but I do not know when we would start getting the water. The other thing is that we do not have a pump at Parika.’

20090209sharazSharaz Ally, minibus driver

`I am not satisfied with the way the minibus park is being operated because some of the drivers are not sticking to the rules from the Parika Minibus Association and do not load their buses in a turn system. The buses that are going straight to Georgetown were moved from the junction and placed in a park close to the stelling. The short drop buses occupy another park at the junction and yet a few Georgetown buses would load right at the junction and the drivers and touts would go to the stelling and pick up passengers even though they are not allowed to do so. But we are not getting any support from the police. Sometimes we have passengers waiting over one hour in the buses before they are full and the other buses would circle and take them away. We need to go back to the junction where there is a four-corner park because we only have to depend on passengers travelling with the boat. The head of the association is breaking the rules and comes down to the stelling to solicit passengers. Some drivers say that their buses are too ‘shine’ to stay in the park. They do not follow the turn system so it is best we don’t have a system.’

20090209albertAlbert James, educator/ Anglican Priest
`I am from Enterprise, Leguan and the sea-defence is a bit vulnerable and we do have some overtopping but because the drainage system is efficient we did not experience flooding during the last rainy season. We have positive things happening in Leguan as well for instance, repair works are currently being done to the road and the rice industry is growing year after year because of the improved drainage. Leguan has also been the recipient of the fast track initiative to help slow learners to develop while the secondary school has been performing excellently. I would also like to see better management systems in Leguan where most entities would be computerized. We have a computer centre in Leguan where children can go to have access. Right now we are getting electricity Mondays to Fridays for a few hours and all day on weekends and I would like to have the service on a regular basis. We also need landline telephones in the area. Personally, I would like to commend the government and the president for the care and concern shown to Leguan. At one time the previous administration wanted to abandon Leguan but this government has embarked on infrastructural work and major rehabilitation of schools.’

20090209billyBilly Lallchand, speedboat operator

`The law would come out soon for the speedboats to have sheds but we operate the small boats to Leguan and I do not think it would be safe to build sheds on them. When the water is rough the sheds can cause the boats to turn over easily. Even the passengers said they are afraid of that and do not want the sheds on these small boats. Right now we are carrying 10 passengers but with the sheds we would only be able to carry eight. To me the sheds suit the bigger boats.’

20090209esmondEsmond Beckles, owner/captain of Bartica speedboat
`We have to pay $800 per day as landing fees for the speedboats at Parika. We operate from the beach at the side of the stelling and the area is filled with garbage and it is not being cleaned up. We hope that the authorities can look into it. The Bartica Speedboat Association came up with a good system for the passengers to book their names before they travel. That way, we can account for the passengers in case anything happens. I think that the shed on the boats is a good thing but it would be hard to put sheds on the smaller boats. One engine would not be enough to push the small boats and we would need another engine. That would be added expense for boat owners and I think that system suits the ‘big fishes’’.

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