I have been asked over the years to contribute to the letter columns of our national newspapers. I did contribute a few articles a few years ago, however after great consideration, I have decided to pen my thoughts with the hope of helping to bring about social, cultural, economic and spiritual development to depressed communities across Guyana. I would first of all look at the communities of Bachelors Adventure, Paradise and Melanie Damishana, these are traditional lands that were bought by the freed Africans at the end of the indentureship period in 1838.
These lands were used efficiently to produce cash crops and ground provision which were sold in the markets across Guyana, the roads that existed in Bachelors Adventure and Paradise were dams which became muddy whenever the rain fell, as such we often attended school barefoot, right on to the1960s, the land now accommodating Melanie Damishana was used as pasturage for cattle.
In 1969 through community self help programmes, we built super lasting roads in Bachelors Adventure and Paradise that remain to this day, materials to build were provided by the Government of the day. To ensure these roads were properly done Clerks of Work were assigned to these projects to give expert technical advice and also monitored the day to day work on the roads. Today the contractors building roads, streets and bridges should be monitored by these technical experts to save taxpayers dollars. Today roads and streets that were built less than one year ago are developing large pot holes that can only get bigger rendering the roads very difficult to use, a consistent waste of taxpayers dollars.
Our education system must be addressed promptly, inability to use the computer has placed our community at a great disadvantage, we must and we will develop an efficient Information Technology programme, to do this we need the support of the residents of these communities, the corporate community and Government or we may only imagine.
The community has seen young families arriving from all over Guyana to reside, only to find that the facilities available do not encourage sports and cultural development among children, and as such we discover growing deviant behaviour among many. Unemployment continues to soar in our community, regular police patrols in the area tell you all is not well.
In 2003 on behalf of our community group, I submitted a Project Proposal to SIMAP for the erection of a multipurpose centre that would especially provide an opportunity for skills development training of young people in the communities of Bachelors Adventure, Paradise, Melanie Damishana, Dazzel Housing Scheme and Bareroot on the East Coast of Demerara. This centre was supposed to be constructed on the Paradise Playfield, the proposal was submitted to the Inter-American Development Bank, the project was approved and the sum of $26.5 million dollars was expected to be made available to bring this project into reality in 2004, contractors were asked to submit bids. Then towards the end of the year came the great flood which lasted way into 2005, the project never got started and we were reliably informed that the funds were used as flood relief and to address security concerns.
We have waited for five long years to see this project realized. When enquiries were made, we were told by the former boss of SIMAP that this project was not a priority.
Could someone please tell me when youth and community development will be a priority for the depressed communities across Guyana?
RAS Aaron Blackman