Saying that Corriverton has the potential to become a “commercial powerhouse,” President David Granger yesterday told residents that if they give A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) a chance to lead the municipality, it could be further developed.
President Granger was speaking at the time at a community meeting held at the Corriverton Primary School.
“Corriverton is the commercial capital where trading, not to mention backtracking… takes place,” he said. He noted, too, that Corriverton is the face of Guyana to Suriname and it shows the power and potential of the region. “It is a powerful opportunity you have to make this town a powerhouse, a commercial powerhouse,” he added.
He noted that there have been some developments within the town because of good governance from his government. However, he said there can be more development within the town if the residents give visionaries from APNU a chance to run the municipality.
“The APNU is leading the charge to bring betterment to this town,” Granger said. He pointed out that streets were constructed under his government as well as walkways, a park and that streetlights were introduced. “It would better if you have an APNU municipality, so that people with a vision can improve the livelihoods of the residents, 12,000 residents of Corriverton,” he added.
According to Granger, APNU made a mistake by not strongly contesting in the Corriverton municipality at the last Local Government Elections. However, he said, the coalition would not make the same mistake again.
He further noted that local government is the pathway to democracy, while stressing that APNU is committed to local democracy. He said at the local level, what the town needs can be discussed and, therefore, the residents should not allow one person from a political party to run the town.
Meanwhile, the president told those gathered that his government had no choice but to close sugar estates because of the huge debt GuySuCo has amassed. He added that it was because a “genius” decided to build a hugely expensive factory at the Skeldon Estate, where the cost of production was higher than the selling price.
He further noted that Corriverton can be used to get persons away from sugar and into agro-processing.
In regards to the owed severance payments to former sugar workers, the president promised that it will be paid before the end of the year. “We promised them severance pay in two parts; the first part in the first half of the year and the second part in the second half of the year. I promise you before the end of the second half of the year, sugar workers will receive their severance pay,” he explained.
President Granger also spoke of how his government worked on improving security within Guyana, as he highlighted that after the pirate attacks earlier in the year, boat patrols were put in place, while after a triple murder in Black Bush Polder last year mounted police were placed in the area to man the backlands.
Granger also told the meeting that in the past the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) divided the country into “green villages” and “red villages.” He said there was tremendous development in the “red villages,” such as proper roads, water and light, while in the “green villages” there was no development at all. He then noted that his party is “colour blind” and is only interested in developing Guyana.
Meanwhile, supporters of the PPP/C picketed the president during the meeting yesterday, while calling for him to pay more attention to the families of sugar workers as well as other areas within the region.
PPP/C representative Denis Deroop explained that thousands of Berbicians are out of jobs and there is desperate need for job creation within the region. He said, “Corriverton has become a ghost town right now. Since the closure of the estate, we are not seeing no investment into Region Six, no financing. This government clearly doesn’t care for the people of Region Six, especially the towns Rose Hall and Corriverton and PPP support base areas.”
Wives of sugar workers who were present explained that they were finding it very hard presently. One said her husband, son and father, who were all employed at the Skeldon Estate, are all out of work. “Them a look all over. Them na find nothing.”
Another woman noted that before losing his job, her husband worked tirelessly to ensure that their son was able to complete his secondary education. She said, “Me son get seven Grade Ones and two Grade Twos and he can’t get job. All over he a apply and no way he na get through yet.”
While the president initially drove past the protestors, Stabroek News was told that he sent someone to inform them that he would be willing to meet after his meeting. However, the protestors declined to meet, claiming that they were too upset to speak with him.
Twenty-five bicycles were handed out to students who were pre-selected yesterday.