Mahdia residents call for improved services

-mattress on floor for emergency patients, broken benches for students

A mattress on the floor of the Mahdia Health Centre that is used as a bed for patients to be examined.

Mahdia residents have intensified their calls for improved services and an end to shoddy infrastructure in their region.

“A mattress on the ground for patients in emergency to come lie on is not acceptable. Not because we are not in town you treat us like bush animal…look around Mahdia and every service this government provide something wrong,” one angry resident said.

Using photos which showed a mattress on the floor of the community’s health centre, students using broken benches to sit, defective plumbing fixtures that cause rainwater to escape leaving the dormitories’ tank empty and a bush-filled trestle that houses the nursery school tank, the residents said it’s time the issues be addressed.

“We are providing evidence the pictures don’t lie if they say we this and that and the other what about these pictures …this is everyday life for the people of Mahdia. Guyana you watch, use your conscience and tell us please is this right for any human being?” Singh, who asked that only his surname be used, declared.

A mattress on the floor of the Mahdia Health Centre that is used as a bed for patients to be examined.
A mattress on the floor of the Mahdia Health Centre that is used as a bed for patients to be examined.

On Monday last, residents of the community located in the Potaro/Siparuni area, once again took to protesting over poor roads and services, vowing that they will in turn refuse to sell gold to the Guyana Gold Board until action is taken to address the grim state of their community.

The residents say that they are annoyed and weary that for over three years they have complained, protested, written to the government and ministers and notified the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and still nothing has been done to fix their roads or address the water problem.

Bush around the tank on the water trestle
Bush around the tank on the water trestle

They said, too, that there has been little or no infrastructural development works in the area and they feel this is deliberate as they are not supporters of the ruling PPP/C government. In a statement, Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker, however, said that the protest should be viewed in the context of the high cost of maintaining hinterland roads set against the background of the reckless use of the roads by truckers and other users. The heavy vehicles, he said, were a factor in how long the roads are useable before more works are needed. Whittaker also noted that $26M has been set aside for works in the region.

RDC councillors say that this work, the concreting of the downstairs of the Engineer’s building, was completed for $1.1M and afterwards they were asked to sign saying that the project would be tendered. They refused to do so because they say the project did not go through the tendering procedures and if it did, it would have shown that it could have been done for $350,000.
RDC councillors say that this work, the concreting of the downstairs of the Engineer’s building, was completed for $1.1M and afterwards they were asked to sign saying that the project would be tendered. They refused to do so because they say the project did not go through the tendering procedures and if it did, it would have shown that it could have been done for $350,000.

Last week, AFC regional councillor Naeem Gafoor said that Whittaker should scrutinize how monies for the region are spent as the Regional Democratic Council has evidence of misuse of the funds and does not believe that allocations are based on urgency but at the discretion of the Regional Executive Officer.

The guttering that is used to channel rainwater for the dorms has been broken and residents say it could be fixed for a small fee. It remains unfixed and students have to  fetch water from some distance away.
The guttering that is used to channel rainwater for the dorms has been broken and residents say it could be fixed for a small fee. It remains unfixed and students have to fetch water from some distance away.

“They used $1.1M to concrete the downstairs of the (Engineer’s office) and then bring the paperwork to show that it now tendering for the contract and wanted us to sign on it. How can we sign for money that use already and another thing is that it was not even urgent to do…”, Gafoor lamented.

This PVC pipe runs through a hole made in the wall of the Chenapau Health Centre for use there. Water is turned off using a piece of wood as a stop.
This PVC pipe runs through a hole made in the wall of the Chenapau Health Centre for use there. Water is turned off using a piece of wood as a stop.

He also bemoaned the state of educational facilities at Chenapau, a predominantly Amerindian community, calling for an upgrade of the furniture situation in schools there and said villagers complained that they were “tired begging”. He said that residents of Region Eight communities feel “deserted and left for the dogs” and pleaded with the governing administration to put aside politics and address the issues.

The Chenapau Health Centre
The Chenapau Health Centre

“We at Mahdia gat it worse but they get it (even worse) it would sick your stomach …the water

Students of the Chenapau Primary School use a broken bench to take notes during class.
Students of the Chenapau Primary School use a broken bench to take notes during class.

coming in for the health centre comes through a hole in the wall then a stick is used to plug it up …the women after they just get baby have to bathe in the yard …it terrible in Region 8, I tell you real terrible,” he charged.

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