NEW FOREST, EAST CANJE - Regional Chairman of East Berbice/ Corentyne Zulfikar Mustapha is up in arms with the quality of work done by residents of New Forest in East Canje on their road.
Based on requests made by these persons, they were given the contract to rehabilitate the stretch of roadway from Speculation to the end of New Forest.
Last week the Chairman and his team paid a visit to the area to inspect the job as well as distribute seeds to residents in the community.
The New Forest road project is being executed at a $3.5million price and this does not include the cost for machinery.
Mr. Mustapha announced that he is dissatisfied with the job done since the material was not used on the project as it should have been. The residents are to be paid a stipend to execute the project. He admonished the residents and asked, “How can we pay you for a job that was not properly done?”
He had told them that they could not handle the job but they insisted that they could.
The workers in many sections only placed the crusher run material in the immediate portions where it was discharged.
The Regional Administration had provided the necessary machinery and tools to execute the job.
The Regional Chairman had on several occasions informed the residents that technical advice and the like would be had from the Administration. He had also told them that the Region Six Engineer Paul Lyken would visit the area to inspect and to ensure that they were working according to stipulation.
Since the job started the Regional Engineer visited on two occasions and advised them how to do the work.
The project began in September and to date 140 tonnes of crusher run was dispatched to the area. The remaining 260 tonnes is to be sent to the location after corrective measures have been taken.
Late last week, the Regional Engineer was sent in to the location to correct the work.
But the residents are pleased with the job they did saying, “it would last for years.” They agreed that they did the best they could since the road is low. They stated that they had to fill the pot holes higher than the existing structure to cater for sinking.
The residents said that they are not yet finished but at the end they can do it satisfactorily.
Chairman of the Community Development Council Goswami Balkaran and Roshan Shamsundar another member of the Community Development Council opined that no outside contractor could have done a better job than they did.
Shamsundar pointed out that between October and November last year, the Administration awarded a contract to an outside contractor to rehabilitate the same road, “within a month it (road) bruk up, we back to square one.”
Ten residents are employed on the road project along with four from the Community Development Committee.
During last week’s meeting, the residents were informed that they would be paid through the Canefield/Enterprise Neighbourhood Council. This did not go down well with them.
“We are boss for the road but the NDC (Neighbourhood Democratic Council) is the boss for the money?” one resident asked.
Mr. Mustapha informed that that the Canefield/Enterprise Neighbourhood Democratic Council has no control over the cash but the system was put in place to allow for proper accountability.
Another worker asked, “Why y’all didn’t mention it from the start that the NDC would control the money?”
This is the first time that the stakeholders in that community are doing work based on their need. This is a request they have been making for years since they believe they know what is best for the thoroughfare.
They also stated that they did not want outside contractors doing the job.
The Regional Administration did the preparatory work such as grading.
In April, the Regional Administration gave them the go ahead to choose what they think would be suitable material for the road and in so doing they were not in a position to blame the Administration should things go wrong after they had completed the job.
Over the years residents complained bitterly about the state of the thoroughfare.
The administration provided the material with funds given by Central Government and handed the said material over to the Community Development Committee. Mr. Mustapha told the residents that the Administration doubled the budgeted amount when his team saw actual condition of road.
Meanwhile, the residents of New Forest have also been without potable water for several weeks, “We use (Canje) creek water or rain. The well not working.”
Cattle rustling is another issue facing these farmers.
The Regional Chairman and his team are to return tomorrow to deal with the complaints made and to assist in alleviating some of the problems.
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