A few concerns about Lethem and its environs
There are a few things I would like to highlight. The first has to do with the impending payment of water rates in the Lethem area. I am privy to a letter sent to the RDC by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
We the residents of this area are not averse to paying such rates, providing that the quality of water improves drastically. In its present form, the water is highly saline. One tastes the salt when drinking the water. Additionally, the water leaves a sandy substance on your skin when you’re finished bathing and it does not lather when washing.
As a result, most residents resort to hand-dug wells in their yards. Others use the creeks and nearby rivers. In short, the water is totally unfit for human consumption, and the residents intend to resist any attempts to have them pay for such a commodity.
We are therefore urging the authorities to have consultation with us to inform us how they intend to remedy this situation.
Secondly, in a section of the press, it was recently reported that 24-hour electricity has been restored to Lethem and its environs. I would wish to inform readers that that is not so. That report is erroneous. The electricity was restored to 24 hours for selected days during the holiday period. However, on other days, and it seems as though that will be the norm from now on, electricity was turned off at 4 am and restored between 7:30 am and 8:00 am.
That is a dangerous situation as it has some implications for security and the many children who wake up at that hour to do their studies for various examinations. Again no consultations were held with the community to arrive at that decision.
The final issue has to do with garbage collection and disposal. The NDC was fiercely criticised for lacking in this area. However, there was a regular collection programme with the use of arguably, the oldest tractor and trailer in the government system. The NDC was seriously hampered in its work by the fact that this area does not pay rates and taxes, since all the lands are still state lands and royalties are being paid to the central government instead.
With the 19-year-old yearly $3,000,000 subvention, the NDC did all they could to alleviate the ever-growing garbage problem. In came the IMC with a promise to better that situation. They would get two out of a possible 10 in that regard. Garbage is piling up everywhere.
We are now hearing that the service of garbage collection and disposal will be contracted out to a foreign company. Again, no consultations were held with the residents. Garbage disposal, especially by foreign companies should be examined very minutely. It is not that I have any bones with foreign companies; it is just that when it comes to garbage disposal, we have got to be very careful, as there is potential for unwanted waste getting mixed up with our waste which can have very serious consequences for the environment and our people down the road. So we have to be very careful.
The people are demanding an informative session with the new architects of our community development in this regard. After all we will be paying for this service, and we would not like to find out later that we have paid for our own demise.
Come on IMC, get it right.