Georgetown, Guyana – (February 22, 2016) The indigenous community of Hiawa, North Rupununi, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), yesterday, came in for high praise from the Government for constructing a 340-metre road, which will significantly improve movement and trade between the communities within that district.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo commissioned the “Perseverance Dam”, which took more than two years to be constructed, during his visit to the Region over the weekend, for the third Public Day forum.
Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Volda Lawrence and Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, who participated in the outreach exercise, also attended the commissioning ceremony.
The high-level Ministerial team commended the initiative, noting that it is the result of such cooperation and community effort and has come to fruition just days before the country Guyana’s 46th Republic Anniversary and Mashramani, “the celebration after hard work.”
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo commends Hiawa villagers for their spirit of cooperation and community pride in building their own road.
“With your work in your community; every road you build, every dam you construct, you are sending a message to Venezuela that this is our territory, this is our motherland and this is the country. We know and we intend to make it better. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. This initiative shows that you want to develop your community, your county, your country,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said.
Minister Harmon was particularly pleased with the effort and expressed admiration for the community spirit displayed by the residents. “It is a pleasure being here to be a part of this ceremony. It truly makes Mashramani a celebration after hard work. I am pleased and happy to be here to share this occasion with you,” he said.
Minister Felix also expressed his appreciation for the community effort and said that the Government always welcomes and supports initiatives that promote the growth and development of communities.
Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix praises residents for their self-efforts and reassured them that Government stands ready to support similar projects.
“We want to associate and build with you. We want to promote the development of Hiawa. Hiawa must be seen in three years or five years as an area which has grown and that is why we are here. We want to let you know that we are concerned [about] the physical development of the area, as well as the development of the people of the area and we want to support your endeavours. We don’t want you to feel shy [about] your ideas because this Government will not only be sympathetic, but will also support developmental activities that you, the people would like to promote,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senior Council, Mr. Joseph Abraham beamed with pride as he described some of the challenges the team of residents had to overcome to complete the project. “The workers will get up and start working at 05:00hrs. We would start work even when it was so dark. We would go for the stones and would encounter snakes in the pile, but we didn’t stop. The prophets of doom said that the project will never happen and many days we wanted to give up, but we didn’t. We persevered and today, it has become a reality,” he said.
Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Carl Parker said the regional administration is proud of the village’s effort and achievement, since what would previously have been 42 miles of travelling between villages such as Moco Moco and Kumu, situated at the foot of the mountain, and Lethem, has now been reduced to just about two miles. The travelling time, which was over two hours-long, has now been reduced to less than half an hour, he said. According to Mr. Parker, the link is most important since the communities around the foot of the mountain depend on each other for trade and cultural activities.
Senior Council, Mr. Joseph Abraham talks about some of the challenges villagers overcame during the construction of the road.
CDC warehouse for long term disaster preparedness
The Ministerial team also visited the site that has been earmarked and handed over to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) for the construction of a warehouse to store water tanks, equipment and machinery, and emergency gear and supplies for use during the ‘La Nina’ and ‘El Nino’ weather phenomena.
Director General of the CDC, Colonel Chabilall Ramsarup said the organisation has secured funding from the United States Government to build the warehouse, but the land had not been allocated and transferred since it required two plots and not one as had been previously arranged. However, with the location identified, the way has been paved for works to commence.
Minister Harmon said that this initiative is a signal to the people of the Region that Government is concerned about their long-term wellbeing. He pledged that the Government will do whatever it takes to ensure that better systems are in place to store water during the wet reason to provide for the dry season, and to have an aircraft with the adequate technology to fly over the Region to identify sources of water, so that wells can be dug in those areas.