Expectations from the days ahead
The year is only a few days old and there is the expectation that a lot of what started during the past year would be accomplished. And from all indications this is likely to be the case. Some of the largest projects ever to be undertaken in Guyana are well along the road to completion.
The largest project ever undertaken in Guyana is the Amaila Falls hydroelectric project. At a whopping US$850 million –and it could reach as much as US$1 billion– this project is touted to solve Guyana’s electricity woes.
But there must be the construction of a road before there could be any talk of construction of a hydro dam. This road was plagued from the inception. From the time the government awarded the contract to a company with no experience despite the objections of the wider society. In the end, after wasting millions of dollars, the government pulled the plug on the contract.
As if to make the job easier, the government split the contract and awarded sections to numerous contractors. But the blight on the project remained; one of those contractors had to be pulled because not only was his machinery repossessed but also he could do nothing to continue the work on the section he was allotted. We now hear that the road could be completed by June 30, nearly two years after its commencement.
There is the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport—terminal included. That, too, is a major project which augurs well for the country. This project is going to get underway this year and represents one of the major undertakings in the quest for national development.
These are just two of the projects that were inked last year but they represent the drive to take the country into the modern lane. They also highlight the need to develop the skills area. Last year the nation saw many who professed to be contractors being awarded contracts and undertaking jobs but failing to complete these jobs.
This was rather widespread. One of the projects destined for completion this year is the four-lane extensions being pursued. Road constructions over the past decade have been undertaken by the locals, many of them with borrowed equipment. The government allowed this to happen because in the first instance, there are just not enough people to monitor or to investigate the people tendering for bids.
Money is often wasted in this manner. For example, one contractor had to be pulled from the East Coast Demerara four-lane project. He could not complete the project and when a thorough inspection was done the authorities had to undo some of the work that this contractor undertook.
This year, there is a move to have the people in the areas where the projects are being undertaken are asked to monitor the project. In the past there were similar requests. The difference was that the administration paid little attention to the people when they reported indiscretions and shoddy work. This year now promises that the people would be recognized. It also spells disaster for those who believe that they will continue to fleece the national coffers.
More is to happen this year. There is to be a focus on the young and the less fortunate. The state recognizes that it must invest in the young and the less fortunate. To ignore these people would be to create a pool from which the criminal-minded could recruit the desperate. The government is spending a lot on institutions to cater for these unfortunate souls. And all this is happening during the New Year.
We still need to ensure governance. The parliament is full of hostility and animosity. This is where the nation is expecting the politicians to behave as people who have the best interest of the nation at heart.
The first thing that the nation expects would be an end to confrontational politics. The national budget that dictates the direction in which money would be spent is going to be first tested for maturity of the politicians.
There is already acrimony over the continued sitting of the Home Affairs Minister in the National Assembly.