Housing, Agriculture ministers meet East Bank E’quibo residents

The ministers of Housing and Agriculture met with residents of Parika, Naamryck and Ruby, East Bank Essequibo to advance plans for road and other developments.

In his address, Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali told the gathering at the Parika Primary School that they were ready to advance some of the plans and programmes that would meet farmers’ needs. According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, Ali said Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn had informed him that resources were allocated to repair roads but there were issues still to be ironed out with the contractor.

“Minister Benn said within another week they are going to do an evaluation of that contract, and if we still have problems with the contractor commencing the work, then he will have to terminate and get a new contractor,” he explained. Roads have been given high priority, especially the Parika/Naamryck road which will be a farm to market access road.

At a previous meeting with the community, residents had asked for a solar water system to be installed at the Parika Primary School to address water woes. “I am very happy that the solar system is installed in this school, and I think it is functioning effectively,” Ali said. A solar water system was also installed at the Ruby Primary School and at the school aback Naamryck, GINA noted. The release also said a technical team that accompanied the ministers would be expected to work along with a committee comprising residents of the three districts to ensure that decisions made are implemented.

There are plans to install two more solar water systems at a school and one for the Ruby community. “In the first instance,” Ali said, “we may have to set up some elevated storage tanks, and have stand pipes, and then we move on as we build capacity to improve the system. I don’t know if you are in agreement with that, but I think it’s a start we can make. We have already started at the school level, but we have to see how we can push forward with that.” He also noted that the ministry is focused on community development and planning and it will collaborate with other ministries on cross-cutting issues such as agriculture.

The ministry is also working on an integrated water resource management system for the East Bank Essequibo communities. “So you will see drainage and irrigation linked up almost as one agency, with GWI (Guyana Water Incorporated) in the future,” he explained. Ali told the meeting that the people’s participation is important to the administration and it is interested in hearing about problems persons are encountering and it would welcome suggestions.

In addition, Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy said that agriculture is the lifeblood of the economic development of Guyana and Parika and the surrounding areas are important agriculture districts. Ramsammy reaffirmed Wednesday Open Day for public meetings which will be manned by junior Minister Ali Baksh. He also said senior staff, including staff from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, will meet with the public in Region Three and in other regions one day every month to discuss and find solutions to challenges.

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