Some $300M earmarked to fix Linden infrastructure

Some $300 million has been set aside to address problems affecting Linden residents including the rehabilitation of roads at Mackenzie and Wismar.

This announcement was made by President Bharrat Jagdeo during a cabinet outreach in Linden on Friday. The visit followed a previous outreach one month ago, when Jagdeo expressed his dissatisfaction at the poor turnout of residents. Organisers had only invited two representatives from each community.

On Friday, all members of cabinet were in Linden and they fanned out to different communities where they spent time addressing a number of issues. According to Jagdeo, immediate decisions were made to move forward with the implementation of solutions; for instance, $40 million have been approved to address problems across Region Ten including Kwakwani, Malali and Rockstone.

Jagdeo said that during the previous meeting the roads were not raised as a major issue but nonetheless, $235 million were assigned for the rehabilitation and repair of 37 roads in Linden as is being done in several communities along the coast of Guyana. “We are going to get about 1,000 roads awarded before mid next year… If you go to Buxton you are going to see almost every road being done,” said Jagdeo.

The addresses of the main speakers at Friday’s public consultation were focused on the vision for Guyana. Jagdeo said it was important for opposition parties to put the past behind and work with the PPP government with energy and enthusiasm for the future of Guyana.

He referred to his government’s success in fixing Guyana’s foreign debt, which, according to him, has dropped from 94% of revenue to 4% as of today. ”We have removed essentially that burden of the past. The debt was 7½ times the size of our economy. We have moved that down from 750% of our economy, today it’s 40% of our economy,” said Jagdeo.

Residents spoke on a number of matters. At the top of the list was the issue of the system used in placing children who completed the National Grade Assessments and the new system of promoting children from one grade to another.

According to residents the system used to place Grade Six students into a secondary school was not transparent. They complained bitterly about some children being placed in schools far from their home while others with high grades were placed at schools that are considered low grade schools.

The group of mainly mothers presented their children’s result slips to Education Minister Shaik Baksh who took down their particulars and promised to revisit the system. He explained that the placements were done electronically and only the Mackenzie High School had a cut off mark; that institution being the only senior secondary school in the region.

With regard to the placement of children in one grade whether they passed or failed, Jagdeo said that some decisions necessitated some public consultation before implementation. Other issues raised included the hardship being endured by visually impaired person in accessing public assistance. On this matter, Jagdeo said that the complaint was not a new one and in the past it was made clear that such persons should not be made to go through the rigorous re-evaluation process every six months. He recommended that an ID card system be instituted.

Meantime, persons called for street lights in the Green Valley, Wismar area, job opportunities for youth at the Linden bauxite operations and flood relief for residents of Rockstone.

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