Georgetown, Guyana – (June 24, 2016) Following the award of $130 million in contracts for rehabilitation works in several communities in East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six), Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, visited with community members and contractors in those areas to ensure that the community members are involved during the construction process.

At High Dam, Caracas, West Canje, Berbice, residents gladly welcomed the Minister and expressed relief that the road in that area would finally be paved. However, several of them took the opportunity to air other concerns that needed to be addressed in the area, including the need for a recreational centre for children, the installation of street lights, and the alleviation of flooding that occurs in the area.

Minister Harmon pledged to address matters of flooding as a priority as it affects residents’ livelihoods. He pledged that at a later date, efforts will be made to look into the installation of street lights, which he noted is a larger project -not just for a specific community- and paving other access roads to the area.

Regarding the paving of the High Dam Road, a 453-metre stretch into the community, the Minister said that after consulting with the contractor, once the weather clears, the project should just take a month to be completed. He also noted that the entire project should be completed in two months.

Minister Harmon then paid a visit to Lancaster, Middle Walk Dam and Middle Walk Dam, Liverpool to assess the work to be done. At those locations, some residents were primarily concerned with obtaining some form of employment from the work that would soon begin on the roads. Minister Harmon agreed that residents should have this benefit, stating that this was part of the reason of his visit.

“It is important that the community is involved in what is happening here. And you should also ensure that people from the community are employed. I want to make sure that whatever work is done there is reflective of community involvement. These contracts were aimed to give a bit [of a] jumpstart to the communities so I hope the contractors will pay attention to that,” the Minister said.

He added too that people must feel the energy and understand that their government is working for them and that the contractors must provide good work for the communities. Minister Harmon also said that there must be a change in the perception that contractors are all about putting money in their pockets.

In response to the work being done, Chairman of the Lancaster/Hogstye Neighbourhood Democratic Council, Mr. Forbes Moore said the planned works are a great help to the community. He noted, however, that there were some other needs communicated to him, including the establishment of a farmers market, better drainage and irrigation and better garbage collection. “We want this community to look like cleaner parts of Berbice and we are working assiduously to do that,” he said.

Resident of Lancaster Middle Walk Dam, Ms. Rajkumarie Nandan said that with the new road, children will have an easier time getting transportation to school.

“Right now it is very hard for buses to come in and it is very hard in the morning for children to get out. We either have to take children out to the road and clean their shoes or put it on at the head of the road,” she said.

Following these visits, Minister Harmon also visited the Independence Arch at Hogstye and met with more residents. Community visits were also scheduled at Second Street, 65 Village, Arjune Street, Hampshire and Koker Dam Fyrish North on Saturday.

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