Despite what has been printed in sections of the media recently, Region Six Chairman, David Armogan stressed that the regional administration is yet to commission the newly built wharf and storage bond at Number 78 Village, Corriverton.
At a press conference held in his New Amsterdam office, Armogan criticised an article published in Tuesday’s edition of the Kaieteur News which stated that the wharf had been commissioned at a cost of $16 million.
“The article conveys the impression that there was commissioning ceremony of the recently completed wharf that we have built at the Number 78 [Village, Corentyne] area. The wharf has not been handed over to the regional administration as yet,” he stressed. According to the chairman, the company which has the contract to construct the wharf, “wrote to us that they have a few things more to complete, and they will hand it over before the end of the month.”
He noted that it’s quite disturbing to know that a newspaper would print such a misleading article. “To say that there was a commissioning ceremony,” he noted, whilst adding, “Unless a project is handed over and it is completed to the fullest, only then can we do a commissioning ceremony, to say that there was a commissioning ceremony I don’t know where that came from.”
Armogan further stated that the article also conveys the impression that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is responsible for the project. “I wish to make it clear that, that is a project of the Regional administration.” He explained that the idea for such a project came into existence, after the former Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and himself made a visit to Orealla in 2015.
“During that visit, that was raised with us. The people said to us that one of the problems they are having is they have to sell it [their produce] cheap to people in the market because they don’t have anywhere to put it and they have to get in back very quickly to Orealla. Another thing they said to us, is when the river boat comes out of the area it has to be way out of the foreshore because of the low tide and when the tide is low, what the children use is a little 12 inch plank and they walk out on it from the boat to connect from the land to the foreshore, and that is very dangerous. We believed that that was very dangerous for the people; children and old people as well [would] be using that little piece of board, almost twenty feet to walk on,” he observed, whilst adding, “The Prime Minister [Sam Hinds] said to me that, Chairman you all should look at putting in a wharf, so that the people can use it when they coming out.”
He noted that the Region thought it necessary to include the project in the next year’s budget. “We put that in as a project to be done. It was approved in 2016, and that is how the project started really because of the concerns raised by the residents,” he stressed.
He further stated that during the design phase of the project, a figure of $16 million was decided upon. However, “That was what was approved in the national budget, a figure of $16 million. However, when we dealt with the question of putting in a storage structure on top of the wharf for the residents’ produce and so, we recognized that we had to extend the wharf because from where we had wanted to put the wharf was too short. So, for the extension and storage bond, an additional $10 million was approved by cabinet for that,” he said, while pointing out that the total cost of the project is $26 million.
He also made reference to the Prime Minister’s Representative of Region Six, Gobin Harbhajan, who he said should not be the front man speaking about the project. “I see Mr. Harbhajan recently jumping the gun, as if the project is part of the Office of the Prime Minister. I know he is the Prime Minister’s Representative in the Region but this is a Regional project and the people who should be speaking on this project is the REO, the Regional Chairman and the Regional Vice Chairman”, Armogan stated. He further said, “This is not the first time the Prime Minister’s Representative in Berbice is doing this thing. I recall Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, when he was agricultural minister commissioned a seed paddy facility at Number 56 Village, and Harbhajan went back in 2016 and recommissioned that project. He seems to like the commissioning business, but he needs to understand that these projects belong to different agencies and these projects will have to be commissioned by these agencies. So he can’t run because he’s the PM’s rep in the Region and want to open it, as if it’s coming from the Office of the Prime Minister.”
“The information they are putting out to the public is not accurate. They don’t know what is happening, they are not finding out what is happening. They jump and say is a project of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure before checking with us and finding out where it come from,” Armogan said.
He called on the officials who are representing the various government offices in the Region to ascertain the facts before speaking with media agencies and peddling inaccurate information.