Please permit me to express my dissatisfaction on the infrastructural fragilities of New Amsterdam. Over the past twenty-five years the town has suffered from the worst forms of infrastructural neglect. The four major roads in the town which are Republic Road, Stanleytown, Strand and Main Street need major resurfacing as potholes and uneven surfaces make daily traverse a difficult exercise. Smythfield Road and Angoy’s Avenue which are two major road arteries are both in a deplorable condition with ten-inch-deep craters that create hardship for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
These roads were rehabilitated some ten years ago and were supposed to last for twenty years, but engineering and administrative negligence have resulted in the current state of affairs.
The residents of Theatre Alley have not seen any maintenance work executed on this street and it is the worst access road in the town. Recently, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson at the unveiling of the ANSA McAl Arch in May expressed his passion and desire to see infrastructural growth in this country. I now publicly ask the Minister to visit NA with his team of engineers and experience the dilapidated road network in the town that is reminiscent of those found in war-torn third world countries.
The NA Municipality and the Region 6 RDC seem not to have the human resource capacity as well as the visionary desire to start the process of transforming the town from its “depressed community” status to one of infrastructural advancement and economic growth, hence the input of central government is urgently needed to halt the social and economic decay of this town.
I suggest that the following initiatives be taken to assist in improving the town’s infrastructure; firstly, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure needs to reestablish its road maintenance unit in Berbice to carry out regular maintenance in patching emerging potholes and repairing road shoulders on a regular basis to prevent disintegration to the point of becoming craters and costing tax payers millions of dollars for substandard repair work.
In the eighties, the then Ministry of Public Works had an office in Berbice and carried out this task efficiently until it was disbanded in the nineties with no justified reason given.
Secondly, central government needs to provide engineering oversight when road works are being carried out in NA. A walk around the town would reveal that the parapets along major roads are filled with overgrown shrubs and desilted mud from the canals which allows for the creation of water pools in the rainy season thus weakening the road shoulders as there is no runoff area for the water and this gives rise to the formation of potholes and craters which results in great inconvenience to road users.
Thirdly, with the increased volume of traffic in the town, there is need for traffic lights to be erected at the critical junctions of Main and Philadelphia streets, Republic Road and Philadelphia Street and Main and Vryheid streets. These traffic control measures will go a long way in controlling the chaotic traffic congestion that occurs during the rush hours in the mornings and afternoon.
To our Local Government Minister Mr. Ronald Bulkan I invite you to visit the town and observe the effects of a dysfunctional waste management system.
Recently, waste collection Skips were placed in strategic areas of the town to collect waste disposed by residents, but untimely collection has allowed for stray dogs and scavengers to scatter the waste on the roadways which is unsightly and repulsive to one’s sense of decency.
It has been more than a year since local government elections were held and residents of the town are still to experience the transformation of this process, hence the need for central government to have a more proactive role as the local government organs struggle to fully understand their roles in providing basic services to the community.
Without our central government input, the enjoyment of the good life promised after the May 2015 general elections will continue to be an elusive dream for residents and would result in a disgruntled electorate come the 2020 general elections who would have felt betrayed by the current administration’s unfulfilled promises. I look forward to Ministers Patterson and Bulkan visiting NA and meeting with regional and municipal representatives to design and execute a developmental plan that would start the process of transforming the town from its “depressed community” status to a state of prosperity and economic growth.
Michael Baird Jr