I consider it my duty to inform the public of the remarkable achievements of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara for the year 2017.
Administration and Finance: Space was for years a problem and today I can boast of the extension of the administration building which was a signature project. The staff members are excited that their comfort was put as a priority.
The programme also saw the influx of new staff members which will now allow for a better result to be delivered, since the programme was heavily under staffed. We also purchased office resources to bring further comfort to all staff members.
Notwithstanding the provision of all resources to our staff, we continue to lift their morale and attitude, for we believe firmly that attitude determines altitude. The administration has been celebrating and will continue to respect and observe all national and religious holidays. Our administration is blessed to have hard-working and committed workers who have from time to time gone beyond the call of duty to ensure the public is served properly, and for that I must commend them all and wish them nothing but continued blessings for a rewarding 2018.
Agriculture: Agriculture can be considered the most important sector within the regional administration of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara because of the heavy farming of various crops by the majority of residents. The regional administration in keeping with government’s policy to provide the good life to all must therefore give the necessary attention to agriculture as it deserves.
It gives me great pleasure to say that full attention was placed on this programme in 2017 where capital and current projects were executed much to the benefit of farmers and by extension the entire region.
Under capital spending, the construction of a revetment at Goed Intent village; an RC control structure at Schoonord Middle Walk; an RC control structure at Zeelugt Middle Walk; and an RC Control Structure at Endeavour, Leguan; the rehabilitation of the Maria Johanna river sluice, Wakenaam and the purchase of HPDE tubes were accomplished much to the satisfaction of all beneficiaries.
With reference to the excavation of canals, the following trenches were done: Aliki Drainage trench, Versailles Middle Walk, Parika West Irrigation, B-Line Tail Well to the Conservency, Bonasika drainage trench, A-Line main drain, Centre Line main drain, Ruby main drain, Lanaballi drainage trench, etc.
A number of repairs were also done to the Philadelphia River Sluice, the Maripa River Sluice and the Salem River Sluice. Work was also done on bridges at Parika Backdam and Maripa.
The department also repaired revetments at Georga Escape Channel and Marias Lodge.
Agriculture has done well in 2017 and in 2018 we will do far better.
Public infrastructure: This programme has successfully completed 100% of work catered for in the provision voted in 2017 for bridges. Heavy duty bridges were constructed at Richmond Hill Leguan, Leonora New Housing Scheme and Meten-Meer-Zorg. The areas mentioned above are now enjoying uninterrupted services not only from heavy duty machines that clean trenches and canals, but also easy forms of transportation for the construction of homes, among many other things.
The provision voted in the 2017 budget for roads also saw a 100% completion of the work. Asphalted, concrete roads were constructed at Unity Street, Mandir Street, Ocean View Uitvlugt and Jessamy Street. It was indeed a delight on our part to receive commendations from residents for the work done in their areas.
I must mention the construction of a Special Needs school at La Parfaite Harmonie which is another signature project, and an Early Childhood Day Care Centre at Leonora. The above projects were channelled through the region, and by virtue of us being direct beneficiaries, oversight was a must. The new state-of-the-art Maternity Ward at the Leonora Diagnostic Centre falls in the same category.
Education delivery: Realizing a better education sector in 2018 will become easier because in 2017 there were several notable infrastructural improvements, including a new state-of-the-art education building which can now house all staff members comfortably; a cold storage unit to store juices and biscuits for our pupils; a generator for when the power supply is interrupted; an extension to La Parfaite Harmonie Nursery, Anna Catherina Nursery, Belle West Primary, Tuschen Primary, Essequibo Islands Secondary, Windsor Forest Primary etc; and new teachers’ quarters at Hog Island and Bonasika, etc.
In addition, remarkable improvements were seen in terms of academic achievement. More pupils gained passes to senior secondary schools and statistics also show that there were widespread improvements in the performance at CSEC with more students matriculating and a significant reduction in the dropout rate.
Further, schools are enjoying free internet access where access to information is way easier and a thirst for knowledge is stimulated. In keeping with the government’s policy of promoting a green economy secondary schools were equipped with solar panels and traditional bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs.
The work of the education department must be a continuous one because as the world experiences change we must equally adapt.
Public health: Despite the challenges facing the health sector the progress made in 2017 with reference to infrastructure is commendable.
We saw the construction of a sanitary block at Vergenoegen Health Centre, Sand Hill Health Centre and Greenwich Park Health Centre. Furnaces were constructed at Morashee Health Centre, Caria Caria Health Centre, Viva La Force Health Centre, Upper Bonasika Health Centre and Hog Island Health Centre.
To facilitate the growing demands on health services and the decentralisation of services, extensions to existing buildings were constructed at Upper Bonasika Health Centre, Leonora Diagnostic Centre (dental, X-Ray, Emergency and Out Patient), Morashee Health Centre, Lanaballi Health Centre and Den Amstel Health Centre. An incinerator was also constructed at Leonora Diagnostic Centre.
Additionally various items of furniture and equipment were purchased to improve the services delivered to patients. Staffing at the various health centres and hospitals has improved, and services are being delivered better than before. Of course there is still room for a lot of improvement, but given the continuous training programmes and workshops I am confident that that will be achieved.
In conclusion, the road may be long and steep but I believe together we will achieve our objective once we stay focused. Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Regional Administration will continue to improve so as to deliver the best to our people with the support of central government. 2018, I predict will be a better year and our region will definitely improve. I wish all a productive and blessed 2018 as we thank 2017 for the many successful accomplishments.