– Pres. Granger tells Sophia residents
Access to potable water, proper roads, and street lights, are some of the basic amenities that were denied the people of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, for many years.
But on Friday, they received all these from the Coalition Government. The provision of these services were merely the administration’s way of delivering on a very important campaign promise. Following a simple ceremony, President David Granger and First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger commissioned a $44M Water Production and Distribution System and a new ‘ring road’ constructed between ‘C’ and ‘D’ Fields Sophia. Under the President’s Five B’s Programme, the First Lady also handed over 40 bicycles to school children in the community.
In his address to the gathering, President David Granger urged residents of Sophia not to view the area as a slum or squatter settlement, but rather, as a developing community.
“Sophia is part of Georgetown- the national capital of this country, so Sophia must reclaim and establish its dignity; build that community spirit. You have the size. You have the talent and we will help you to get the resources… no ward in Georgetown must be left behind and I would like to assure you that this government would not leave Sophia behind,” Granger promised.
He reflected on the hardships faced by the people of Sophia, and promised that step by step, the government will correct the wrongs done to the people of the community.
“Sophia for a long time was ‘no-ville’. Sophia had no water. Sophia had no good roads. Sophia had no sewerage. Sophia had no electricity… no garbage collection… Sophia did not have the services that it needed; the health centres, the schools, the markets, the transportation, the sanitation, streetlights, parks, playgrounds, fire hydrants. All of these utilities and services are necessary if Sophia is to catch up with the other wards in Georgetown,” the President said.
Also present for the commissioning of the ‘ring’ road, was Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson. He highlighted that of all the communities, Sophia had the worst road network he had seen. But gradually, that has changed.
Patterson said that since the Coalition Government took office, some $825M was spent on the rehabilitation, and in some cases, the construction of new roads and the erection of accompanying street lights. The Minister noted too that in the coming months, an additional $60 million will be expended on other infrastructural work in the community.
Patterson noted though that while the government is doing what it can to improve the lives of Sophia residents, they themselves must exercise care and consideration. He said that over the past few weeks, his Ministry has received reports of speeding.
“I’ve been told that we should install speed bumps, but I don’t want to do that, people need to be more careful,” Patterson said.
And Managing Director of the Guyana Water Incorporated, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles declared his relief that he was able to play a part in bettering the lives of the people of Sophia, who have endured decades of suffering.
“Residents of Sophia, the disrespect meted out to you by having you dig three to four feet below the ground surface to access water for your daily activities is now a thing of the past,” he said.
Dr. West-Charles noted that to ensure proper quality, the water reaching Sophia will be tested daily, and the results will be shared with residents.
Other Ministers of Government who attended the event included Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes and Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Greene.
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