Apr 03, 2017 News
The township of Corriverton in East Berbice, Corentyne, is aiming to become a municipality which does not have to depend solely on funding from Central Government. This is expected to be achieved by the exploitation of the town’s strategic location and empowering residents to become entrepreneurs.
Outgoing Mayor of Corriverton, Ganesh Gangadin, in an interview describing the municipality’s performance, said that when he took office in March 2016, the town was in need of efficient delivery of services. One of the avenues used to address this problem was the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).
He said that it was easy to tap into the project, since the Ministry of Communities already had the project on board. Gangadin explained that CARILED helped his team to formulate a development plan by doing a SWOT analysis whereby the municipality’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) were identified.
“We see ourselves in some point in time where we can generate resources to run this town, deliver adequate services without intervention from central government. We are also looking forward at some point in time to be a municipality where we can contribute to the Consolidated Fund, as opposed to us receiving from the Consolidated Fund.”
According to Gangadin, Corriverton has the capacity to achieve this goal, but before it can be attained the town is looking forward to further help from central government to develop its capacity.
He said that CARILED has provided a lot of training to councillors through capacity building workshops. Gangadin expressed his satisfaction with the level of training received and the work which the CARILED team would have done.
According to him, through the programme, the municipality was able to identify idle resources in the women and youth populations. As such, efforts are being made to provide the support mechanism for those groups so that they can engage in their own commerce.
This, he said, will be complemented by the establishment of a help desk located in the lobby of the municipality headquarters, so that persons desirous of getting into their small and micro enterprises could receive advice as it relates to applying for permits and business registration.
Further, as a town, Gangadin said that it is no secret Corriverton is in a strategic location to capitalise on trade.
“We are strategically located, we’re the bordering town to the most east of Guyana and we share the border with Suriname and therefore we present ourselves as a strategic town for trade and commerce.”
According to Gangadin, Corriverton, in the past, had lent a lot of support to trade, where at one point it was the facilitating hub for a lot of food importation from Suriname.
Meanwhile, on the issue of solid waste management, Gangadin said that after taking office he found a system which was chaotic and in urgent need of an intervention.
“We also stumbled upon a contract which set us at a disadvantageous position. We immediately reviewed the contract and sought legal assistance and we were able to pick up a few flaws and we set out to develop infrastructure for the solid waste situation, we had to rescind the contract of the then solid waste provider.”
Following this move, Gangadin said that the municipality immediately employed its resources at hand, which were at the time two tractors and trailers. A team of committed workers was assembled and the town took over solid waste management.
“From then to now, we have seen a lot of improvements, though we have not reached the desired level or the comfort level. So what we decided on and we agreed on through our statutory meetings and so forth were to develop our capacity. We know we have the resources, we have a compact truck and we have the solid waste site.”
He said that the town’s capacity will be further developed to an extent where waste will be picked up and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, he said that it was observed that the town had excess capacity in this department. In light of this, he said that there are plans to offer the service to the neighbouring municipality of Rosehall as a form of revenue generation.
“Already, the municipality has yielded some $2.5M or more in terms of collection and we’re using these resources to further improve the system. As I said we are not at the desired result yet but its work in progress and we see within the next year or two we will achieve our vision of completely improving solid waste management in Corriverton.”
According to Gangadin, the municipality had embarked with the Ministry of Communities on the Green Guyana Generation project. Under this project, visits were made to schools where discussions were held about the need to recycle, reuse and to think of creative ways to dispose of garbage.
“We’re hoping that from the students, we use them as a base and they will be the future ambassadors and the ones who are going to really drive the solid waste project to the kind of efficiency that we really want it.”
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