President Bharrat Jagdeo and his team of Ministers once again held interactive sessions with people from all across Region Ten. The occasion was a follow up fan out exercise and the people converged at the Watooka Complex, to hear of solutions to some of their problems, and to even air some more.
The president assured that subsequent to the first Cabinet outreach, where Ministers had gone out into the various communities across Region Ten, and where a number of issues were raised, he had secured a list of those issues. He had already approved $40M to address some of them.
And although roads were not a major issue, 27 are expected to be rehabilitated to the tune of some $235M with an additional $10M going towards maintenance, on both the Mackenzie and Wismar shores.
The President disclosed that close to $300M was assigned to the community since the last community outreach.
In addition, $800M will go towards feeding school children, with another $300M will be set aside for school uniforms for every child across Guyana, the President told the huge gathering.
He added that with the new fibre optic cable, tens of thousands of jobs could be created, with the possibility that persons could work right from their homes, selling some services.
And in an effort to ensure that Lindeners capitalise on the opportunities that would accrue as a result, the President promised that he would ensure that every household has a computer, probably within another five years. He exhorted the gathering that each of them should learn to use the computer.
He reiterated that without the ambition to achieve, and unless we know where we want to go- unless we have a vision, then we will be trapped by old politics,-us and them- trapped by religion and race, and by underdevelopment.
He pointed out that nothing can be achieved by that, as when you don’t have ambition, there is always hopelessness, as the least ambitious people are always negative.
“It is important that everyone understands where we want to take Guyana, because you have to be part of that process, your children, your grandchildren. For too long, past generations have lived above their means.
“There was a time when we consumed more than we produced, so we had to borrow to sustain that lifestyle. We borrowed to the point where 94 per cent of what we earned had to go to pay debt—debts that we sometimes did not even benefit from.”
Today, President Jagdeo said, the Macro economy is going in the right direction.
“When people accumulate wealth, the country gets better. Housing is one of the ways that Government seeks to better lives. Some 75,000 low income house lots were given out.” He noted that owning a piece of land makes a big difference in people’s lives. Many families had paid more in rent than they now do in mortgage, the President declared.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds told the gathering that the prospects for the future of Linden look quite good. He alluded to the agriculture sector which he noted had taken off and has further to go, as there has been the exportation of some agricultural produce from Region Ten to the United States.
Hinds pointed out that the logging sector has also made huge strides.
He asserted that even though there were mixed reactions to LEAP’s intervention in the mining town, that entity has brought about some change, like helping persons to diversify and become entrepreneurs. This he noted was a good thing.
With regards to the Amelia project, the Prime Minister said that Linden is very much ‘in front’ for equipment to be offloaded here and for the establishment of offices, while the fibre optic cable will pass through Lethem and Linden.
“We will do our best to put in facilities, but it is up to the people to make things work. For the future we in linden should set out to be the best, and make good use of the opportunities available.”
Among the issues raised during the interactive session were the criteria for placement of children in Linden, who recently wrote the recent Grade Six Assessment. Many parents vented disapproval of their children’s placement.
Farmers in Kara Kara wanted to know about the prospect for reforestation, and a Kwakwani resident lamented the lack of proper transportation for students in that community.
Kwakwani residents also called for a bank to be established in the area; for the reopening of a dormant sawmill to create employment, and for the intervention of Food for the Poor to help the needy acquire houses. It was claimed that the community has been grossly neglected.
A Green Valley resident wanted the area to receive streetlights and regularisation. And a Linden Youth lamented the lack of job opportunities, within the town for youths like himself who have graduated from high school and even University.
A representative from the Wismar market pointed to the need to have a car or bus park established at the facility, while another Lindener exhorted the powers that be to make Linden an in transit point for both the Mahdia and Lethem buses.
Another pertinent question raised was why do blind persons have to go every six months for assessment in order to obtain public assistance.
President Jagdeo said that that was unconstitutionally incorrect, and recommended that the afflicted persons should be given a permanent identification and so eliminate the need to do reassessments every six months.
The President promised to look into a number of issues including the dismissed RUSAL workers who to date have not received any monies; some employees of the Linden municipality also complained about late payments, and the receipt of part salaries.
Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo however clarified that a directive to pay the junior staff first was not carried out, and that certain areas that are serviced by the municipality, are however not on the Council’s payroll so no monies can be collected, which places the already cash strapped facility in an even more difficult situation, which results in late payments.
Apart from the open interactive discussions, persons with personal and private issues had the privilege of having their concerns addressed by Ministers in the relevant areas.
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