Jan 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – It has been revealed by the Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, that the $3.4 million West Watooka Pavillion/Community Centre and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Hub located in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) has been left abandoned despite money already being injected into the project.
Minister Hamilton made the disclosure to Kaieteur News, following his visit to the Region last week. During that visit he conducted a site visit of that project and many others.
The project was one of the many community development projects under the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme in 2019. In April 2019, the former Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, had committed to providing the $3.4 million for the pavilion to be completed and the Former Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, also chimed in, promising to establish an ICT Hub in the West Watooka community.
This was after residents had pleaded for assistance for the completion of the facility which they had already started building through self-help, and, at the time the foundation was already completed.
Of the $3.4 million, an interim payment of $1.4 million was given towards the project on July 30, 2019. It was not indicated that the remainder of the sum was collected.
Documents seen by this newspaper listed the project coordinator and contact person for the project as Teerissa Millo, however, no contactor was named.
A status report as of December 12, 2019, stated that the beams were being erected at the time and the roof was yet to be constructed. The images provided in the status report showed the works that were done, but a recent image seen by this newspaper showed the building abandoned with no roof constructed. Adding to that, the area is overgrown.
Kaieteur News understands that $6 million in total was given to a group for the construction of the community centre and ICT hub, however, the documents only supported the $3.4 million disbursed for the project.
The SLED programme was initiated in 2015 under the previous coalition government and, according to Minister Hamilton, around $760 million has been invested into the programme to date. A special audit of the projects handed out under the 2019 programme has already commenced and another report is supposed to come from the Audit Office.
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