The first municipal council of Lethem, Region Nine sees agro-processing as a key focus for the Lethem Industrial Site.
Mayor of the recently commissioned township of Lethem, Carlton Beckles told GINA that the completion of the industrial area, with an emphasis on agro-processing is among priorities that the council has set to accomplish before it demits office.
“We want an industrial area that you will have utilizing things that are readily available inside here in Lethem,” the Mayor said in a recent interview with GINA.
The Council wants produce including cashew nuts and mangoes, which are plentiful in the region, to be processed in the Industrial Site, the Mayor said.
“We do not want to have persons coming into the industrial area to establish businesses that are already established there. For example the persons who are making the blocks with their hands, we would not want to see somebody coming here in the industrial area, with a block making machine, to put that person out of business. We would like to see that person go into the industrial area to get all the necessary support (so) that they can acquire the different machinery that they can produce these blocks,” he stated.
He added that the vision is “not for persons to come into the site and open shop anymore to do buying and selling. Leave that to the locals, invest in the industrial development of the community,” Beckles said.
The Council also envisions that a specific area within the industrial that could be reserved for an auto assembly plant. “It might sound far-fetched but definitely, why we cannot through Central Government, lobby one of those automakers that they can set up an assembly plant here in Guyana with an aim of exporting to Brazil to Caribbean,” the Mayor questioned.
Beckles said that under education, the vision is to have an education city and this would encompass having a secondary school, a technical institute and a university in the town.
“Listening to that plan definitely it is not short term, we would not acquire that during our tenure, but is something for us to build on, because we have the space, that we could have all those things within a square (in Lethem),” he said.
Immediate plans would see the realization of a library, equipped with Wi-Fi, where residents, particularly teachers and students, can access the internet to do research, at a small cost, the mayor explained to GINA.
The Council has also committed to making available, on an annual basis, bursaries to the top three National Grade Six Assessment students of the town.
The municipality is also looking to realise the region’s first Fire Station. Beckles disclosed that the Deputy Fire Chief has met with the council, land has been identified and the construction of the building is expected to commence very soon.
The Municipality is also rehabilitating the Lethem market even as it is upgrading several sport facilities.
Beckles advised that the sports grounds in Culvert City and Tabatinga, Lethem, are being enclosed and sanitary facilities will be installed.
Beckles pointed out however that the council is being restrained by challenges such as staffing. “We do not have the required amount of staff and it is understandably so because we are a new municipality, where we have to get our town clerk, town treasurer, superintendent of works, public health officer…,” he explained.
The building that houses, the municipality is also inadequate, Beckles noted.