Georgetown, Guyana – (December 17, 2017) President David Granger, today, commissioned a $21M stelling at Ykinipa Village, Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two), which leads from the Akawini Creek into the village after years of residents being forced to traverse makeshift boards along a treacherous path, during the previous administration even as a similar stelling was constructed further up the creek. The Head of State, who also the Region to bring Christmas cheer to the children of the surrounding villages in Akawini and in the Upper Pomeroon at Kabakaburi, said that he committed to ensuring that the stelling was constructed after visiting the village in 2015 and instructed Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ms. Annette Ferguson to work with regional officials to ensure that it was done.
The 1440 foot-long stelling is just one of the many projects, which residents of Ykinipa and other villages in the Akawini are benefitting from even the administration works to advance development in the riverine and far-flung communities. Speaking to residents, who cheered as he addressed them, President Granger said, “When I first came to this community and walked on that bridge, I said that this is very dangerous and that no resident deserves to access their community in this manner so I am very happy to see this. I am here because of you. I will be faithful to you. There are 215 villages but as far as possible, we will consider all of your requests and try our best to honour them,” he said.
Minister Ferguson said that initially $19M was expended on the project but after consultations with the Toshao it was realised that it need to be extended further inland bringing the cost to $21M. The stelling was completed with a workforce drawn mainly from Akawini and also most of the material was sourced from the lower Pomeroon, thereby providing income for the region. Toshao of Ykinipa, who also has responsibility for Baracara, another village located in the Akawini Creek, Mr. David Wilson praised the Government and said residents are grateful to President Granger for honouring his promise as the community was severely neglected under the former administration. He noted that in the two years that the Government has been in office the community has benefitted from a number of infrastructural works.
“We are very lucky to have completed that stelling. We were also able to achieve a nursery class right at Baracara. For many years our children suffered. They never had breakfast in school and they had to go hungry whole day and so under this Government they have built us a hot meal kitchen at Baracara. We also got a Presidential grant to construct a Mess hall so that children could sit in one area and have their lunch. All of these structures and developments happened in just 24 months under this Government. In School Islands, another small village in the Akawini Creek under Mr. Wilson’s purview, a hot meal kitchen, which we have been longing for many, many years was also constructed and we also built a mess hall at this location. We were also lucky to accomplish a community centre. It is all because of the kind hearted and caring Government that we have,” Toshao Wilson said.
President Granger said that his Government is serious about the development of all regions in Guyana, whether Hinterland or Coastland and will ensure that every community and resident are able to benefit from projects, programmes and services, which can improve their lives.
“I am President of all Guyana. I know what you need and as long as God gives me the strength, I will ensure that I deliver what you need. Every Guyanese must have access to public services. I don’t believe in bush. I believe in people and whether you are living in Akawini or Orealla or Kwakwani, you deserve access to public services. As far as President Granger is concerned, I treat all citizens equal,” the President said at Ykinipa.
Meanwhile, over at Kabakaburi Village, Toshao of the village, Mr. Cleveland Simon, in his remarks, also praised the Government for the work it has undertaken to improve lives in the community. He noted that in addition to the repainting of the Primary School, the provision of an oxygen bank at the Community Health Centre and the construction of a sport hall in the community, the Government has also made provisions in the 2018 National Budget for additional works to be done in the community. In addition to this, he noted that this is the second year the President has visited the community, a testimony of a caring Government. “Mr. President, you have promised us and you have fulfilled your promise. Thank you so much, Mr. President, for your Government’s good work [that] they have been doing. The road leading from Kabakaburi to Akawini, a cargo boat and the ATV, which [are] in the 2018 budget, Mr. President I thank you for doing such a great work for us. Mr. President, on behalf of the residents of Kabakaburi, I thank you for your kindness to us and the work you [are] doing. You are transparent in all your doings and your reward will be great,” he said.
Reiterating his commitment to doing all that he can with the finances available to improve the lives of the citizens in Kabakaburi and other surrounding communities, the President said that Christmas is a time of friendship and fellowship and it is for this reason that he has embarked on spreading Christmas cheer in the riverine areas, which are not often visited. “We are here to look, to listen and to learn and when we do those three things, then we will be able to provide betters services for you here in Kabakaburi. What is important today is the feeling of friendship we have between us, between this village and the Government. I am here to make sure that your facilities, that your infrastructure is improved because we believe in equality,” the President told residents at Kabakaburi.
Minster of Public Affairs within the Ministry of the Presidency, Ms. Dawn Hastings-Williams, in brief remarks to the residents at Ykinipa said that Government is making strides in the provision of education since it believes that a strong nation is born out of an educated society. “Coming from a school environment, I have a keen interest in the education of our children particularly the hinterland communities and riverine areas. So I am very pleased to hear that you now have school feeding programmes and dining halls for the children so that they can sit comfortably and eat their meals. I want to encourage you boys and girls to make the best out of these opportunities. Our President is a man who has a heart for children because he needs to see Guyana move forward and the vehicle to do that is through education,” she said.
Regional Executive Officer of the Pomeroon-Supenaam, Mr. Rupert Hopkinson, who also accompanied the President to the villages said that he is happy to see that residents are recognising and appreciating what the Government is doing to improve their lives.
At the end of the visit to Ykinipa, the Head of State donated a quantity of sports gear inclusive of bats, balls and cricket pads and volleyball and football gear to the Toshao of Kabakaburi and distributed toys to over 600 children. He was assisted by Minister Ferguson and Minster Hastings-Williams.