DEAR MR. EDITOR.
The community of Mocha/Arcadia is situated on the East Bank of the Demerara River approximately five and a half miles from Georgetown and one and a half miles east of Ramsburg by the Providence Police station.
Its inhabitants are predominantly Africans with a population of several thousands. Mocha/Arcadia was once a slave plantation where coffee was grown and has a historical landmark such as the No 3 Canal which was dug by slaves and runs along the only access road to the community.
This access road often suffers neglect from the Public Work Ministry because it is not declared a public road and does not be featured in the national budget for repairs and maintenance.
Mr. Editor, I am aware that there are roads on the East Coast that are not declared public roads but are well paved and maintained. This road is often allowed to become very deplorable and difficult to traverse with hundred of potholes and ponds.
Some residents, namely Mr. Roberts and Mr. Alexander would often approach the Ministry with a view to having it repaired but without success. On one occasion a few years ago when assistance to repair it was refused, the residents organized a self-help exercise to weed the bush along the road and invited the media.
This was on a Sunday and by the Wednesday an official from the ministry came looking for Mr. Roberts and after not making any contact with him left a letter at the NDC office for him to make himself available to receive fifty ton of crushed run materials for the road. During the self-help exercise, monies were collected and used to purchase sand and cement which was added to the crush run to patch the potholes.
In 2006 the road again needed repairs and the ministry was approached and as usual our request was refused on the grounds that money was not available. Residents decided to act by protesting and blocking the road and this was highlighted in the media. Two days after that protest I was informed by a high official for the ministry that $7.8 million dollars was available for repairs to the road but a contractor had to be identified. Eventually the repair to the road began but when two-thirds of the length was completed the contractor withdrew his equipment and when questioned said that the $7.8 million dollars was exhausted.
Mr. Editor, please don’t be surprised with what I am saying here now. The same night the contractor withdrew his equipment a senior government official attended a wake for the mother of one of his best friends and apparently he told himself that his friend mother’s body should travel on a smooth surface. The following morning the contractor was back on the road to complete the repairs.
Last year about three months before the World Cup I asked the Permanent Secretary to see if he could have the potholes that were developing on the road, patched along with clearing of the undergrowth since visitors to the world cup may want to visit Mocha.
He agreed and said it would be done. Up to this day nothing has been done. Mr. Editor, as late as last week he said that there is nothing he can do because funds have been exhausted.
A few months ago a mini-bus driver bought materials to patch a few big potholes and as I write, the road is deteriorating and with the coming rainy season you could imagine what would happen when the big trucks from GuySuCo are traversing the road every single day. And what is most important in the event of an emergency, such as a fire is that valuable time would be lost for a quick response. The Almermo Housing Scheme is a government-funded one and was handed over to the Mocha/Arcadia N.D.0 last September without the completion of 3300 ft of road bordering the scheme.
During the handing over the deplorable state of the roads was brought to the attention of the minister who said that funds were only available to construct a walkway. Imagine in this modern day of development we, the residents of this community have to accept a walkway for a road, when in Annandale North there is a squatting area (un-regularised )called Marshon. Government approved $28 million dollars last year for the building of roads to benefit approximately 650 residents. A government-funded scheme was given $6 million dollars to build a walkway of 3300 ft. Marshon in Annandale also has electricity, telephone and water in each home but in Barnwell North, a squatting area we are given six stand pipes at the entrance to it when the length of Barnwell North is over thirteen hundred meters.
Mr. Editor, in relation to Barnwell North, if water was available in every home as promised in 2006, those two little sisters who drowned on Mothers Day last year would have been alive today. I am wondering to know if it is because of the way we vote when there is general elections that is the reason why we are being treated as if we are second-class Guyanese
During the existence of Future Fund, the Canadian funded development organization Mocha Arcadia was the recipient of $30 million Guyana dollars for the development of the community. The money was used mainly to purchase and install over 10000 ft of PVC water mains and also two 6″ submersible water pumps, to construct 6000 ft of clay brick road and rehabilitate 2500ft of asphalt road, among other things.
Professor Ken Danns who was our advisor during the developmental works was trying for us to have a market and approached another funding agency whose Executive Director then is now a minister in the government. He told Professor Danns “Al you ain’t got another cent foh get”. About four years ago the President, during a visit to Alexander Village and Herstelling gave $5 million dollars to each community for road works but not a cent was given to Mocha/Arcadia until now. What is interesting to know is that Cabinet outreach during the last election never visited Mocha/Arcadia and it makes me wonder if this is marginalization.
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