Residents of the remote community of Masakenari in Region Nine will get a new well which is to come on stream by the end of January, Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali said on Monday.
Ali made the announcement during a visit to the area with a team that included Permanent Secretary Emil McGarrell, Guyana Water Inc. Director of Capital Invest-ment and Planning Ramchand Jailal and Company Secretary Nigel Niles, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
The minister told the villagers gathered in the ‘meeting place’ (a version of the Umana Yana) that the initial intention was to utilise a drill to dig the well up to 150 feet deep but because of transportation considerations it was decided to dig the well up to between 60 and 80 feet, using local labour. Ali told the villagers too that the labourers will be paid and all materials will be provided.
There is already a solar-powered well at Masakenari but its capacity does not provide for the entire village, especially those in the highland, and not in the dry season.
The area also boasts internet access and a newly-constructed bridge for easier access into the community, GINA stated.
The minister’s visit resulted from a Cabinet mandate following the last Toshaos’ Council Meeting. After that meeting the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs compiled a report for Cabinet that focused on the issues affecting indigenous communities as highlighted by the toshaos.
The minister also informed the residents that their community will soon benefit from improved access roads as government is expending millions to improve road networks in the hinterland.
Meanwhile head teacher of the Masakenari Primary School, Maribeth Singh said that while she recognized government’s efforts to improve the lives of the residents, her school does not yet benefit from the school feeding programme. Minister Ali undertook to bring the matter to Cabinet’s attention so the situation could be rectified.
Residents also sought Cabinet’s assistance with the transportation of their health supplies from Aishalton as health worker Janet Yamochi indicated that the health centre is without required medicine, a situation which sometimes can become untenable. They also requested assistance with fuel to transport students to and from Aishal-ton Secondary School at the beginning and end of term, GINA added.