By Brushell Blackman
President Bharrat Jagdeo commissioned a new well at the New Diamond Housing Scheme to the tune of $65M yesterday.
The facility will serve 4,000 residents and can accommodate a population increase of some 50 per cent of those who live in the area.
The project was a joint partnership between the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), that provided $55M and the Guyana Government which provided the remaining sum.
President Jagdeo told the gathering that the community can now have reliable and quality water supply. He also used the occasion to travel down memory lane.
He said that is was not easy to resurrect a country that was characterised by dilapidated infrastructures and bringing it to a perfect situation. This, he said, will take some time. Despite these challenges, Jagdeo said, the country has moved some distance from the one that was described by a Caribbean Council of Churches report as hopeless.
The Head of State said that despite all these challenges that his government has inherited, persons are now looking to the future with optimism because of the shrewd management of the country by his administration. He said that there are some key factors that have led to this optimism.
President Jagdeo also pointed to the reduction of the country’s debt, to more prudent management of monetary affairs and the lowering of interest and inflation rates.
The President said that within the Petro Caribe arrangement, Guyana has the highest national reserve at this juncture of its history.
He added that currently the mortgage financing rate is plummeting as compared to what was obtained with the previous administration. “I recalled some years ago when you borrowed a loan the interest rate was 35 percent. So if you borrowed five million, it increased to ten million three years later”.
This, the President said, meant that many Guyanese were unable to own their own homes although there was an abundance of land.
Jagdeo recalled visiting the Diamond area when there were no homes, and the possibilities of the area developing into a thriving housing scheme a mere dream. Today, the President said that the transformation of the community is phenomenal and there are plans to convert it into a town.
The Head of State also used the occasion to launch another attack on Kaieteur News which has been questioning a number of initiatives by the administration. He branded the approach by this newspaper on a number of issues as sterile.
Stopping short of naming Kaieteur News, Jagdeo said that certain newspapers are happy on reporting on day to day events, but shy away from other issues. “It is easy to write a story on an accident, or a crime or something that somebody says”.
However, he said that it is harder for these newspapers to get into the analytical mode and write about the future and examine policy initiative.
The Head of State was critical of an article in yesterday’s Kaieteur News under the caption ‘Finance Minister seeking another US$25M from nation’s coffers’.
He said that the article trivialised the intention of the Finance Minister.
The article failed to state that the amount was sought without raising the budget ceiling. He said this move will not widen the fiscal deficit, since this (fiscal deficit) determines interest and exchange rates and inflation.
Although he failed to give comprehensive details on the monies sought, he said that the few roads that the offending article spoke about are actually 230 roads that will be funded from the sum sought in Parliament.
Further, justifying the need for the US$25M, Jagdeo said that they do not want to return unused money to the national treasury at the end of the year without completing works that will benefit the nation. Such analysis the President opined requires deep thinking which is lacking by Kaieteur News.
He said the article sends a very sinister message of government’s misusing of funds. To this end he urged those gathered to thwart the attempts by some who seek to divide the nation.
He said that the government will continue to execute developmental works across the country like the one at Diamond. The well goes 690 feet below the surface.
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