APNU Presidential Candidate Brigadier (rtd) David Granger has blamed the PPP/C administration for the underdeveloped state of the Upper Mazaruni and has proposed to use revenues derived from the mineral-rich region to develop the area.
In a press release Granger said the PPP/C uses the hinterland as a “vote farm” every five years rather than attend to villagers’ daily needs for employment, education and economic opportunity. He made these comments following a visit to the region’s “depressed living conditions” over the weekend, accompanied by his wife Sandra Granger and a support team including PNCR MP Dawn Hastings.
Granger met villagers from Kamarang, Kako, Jawalla and Quebenang and outlined his vision for the area. He committed to establishing an Upper Mazaruni Development Agency as a means of harnessing the Region’s economic potential, encouraging investment and fast-tracking the development of the area and its people. Granger said the indigenous residents remain impoverished despite the fact that the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region – which is about the size of The Netherlands – generates enormous wealth from its legendary mining and logging economy. As such, he committed to providing a greater share of the revenues derived from this region to its development. He also criticised government’s attitude toward demarcating lands, consultation about the LCDS and the sustainable use of the Region’s resources.
According to the release, “The cost-of-living in the Upper Mazaruni is at its highest level ever with gasoline being sold for $2,500 per gallon,” which makes riverain transport expensive and the cost of taking farm produce to market and buying foodstuff prohibitive. Hundreds of school children drop-out every year and unemployment among young school-leavers is widespread.
Toshao Norma Thomas and Regional
Vice-Chairman and Guyana Action Party (GAP) representative Amrita Thomas said they were hopeful that villagers would be consulted on all matters that affect them. Granger emphasised that an APNU administration would consult villagers before taking decisions that affect their livelihoods. The Presidential Candidate explained that his administration would focus on education and employment, key factors in ensuring what he called “a good life” for all Guyanese.
He also promised that an APNU Administration would immediately upgrade the Waramadong Secondary School to make it a facility that provides modern education, including Science and Information Technology by a full complement of trained teachers and healthy dormitory facilities. Granger also reiterated his pledge to establish a modern Mazaruni Agricultural Institute where current agriculture techniques would be taught as improved agricultural production would provide employment, increase yields and lower the Region’s skyrocketing cost of living.
According to the release, Granger also attended a service at the Seventh- Day Adventist Church in Kamarang on Saturday and gave an address at the Opening Ceremony of the Upper Mazaruni Annual District Games at Jawalla on Sunday.