Georgetown, Guyana – (February 19, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, charged the residents of Alexander Village to take personal responsibility for the condition of their surroundings even as he returned to the village on a walkabout to observe progress being made on works to reduce the incidence of flooding in the community, after residents had pleaded with him during his last visit to have the matter resolved. Under the current programme of work to be completed, the main canal located at First Street Alexander Village and Hunter Street is being cleared.
The clean-up effort, which is expected to be completed by Thursday, also targets the main drainage outlets from First to Fourth Streets and is being done in collaboration with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the M&CC, the Ministry of the Presidency and the Guyana Tractor and Equipment (GuyTrac), a company, which operates in the area. The Minister has also pledged a quantity of tools to the community to spearhead their own clean-up efforts whenever the need arises.
During a visit to the community on January 29, 2018 the residents voiced concerns about drainage in the area with one of the residents even dropping on his knees to beg for assistance. At that time, Minister Harmon committed on their behalf, to seek the assistance of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to have an official assessment of the village in order to properly rectify the problem.
During the walkabout today, Minister Harmon told residents that while central Government, the private sector, the CDC and the M&CC have undertaken this collaborative effort, it is now their responsibility to become the gatekeepers to ensure that drainage infrastructure and the environment are protected.
“The point that I want to make here today is that there is tremendous value to be had when citizens cooperate with the City Council. What we are seeing here is a combination of the Mayor’s office, the constituency representative and GuyTrac. The citizens are very pleased and they have undertaken to keep the drains clean so that flooding will be something of the past. Additionally, what I was happy about this morning was that people were prepared to come and offer their services to be what I call environmental wardens. I am asking that we understand that this is a personal responsibility that we have to [take] and that we must work with the constituency [representatives] and the City to have a clean and healthy community,” he said.
Mayor of the City of Georgetown, Ms. Patricia Chase-Green, who also accompanied Minister Harmon on the walkabout, echoed the sentiments shared by Minister Harmon. She noted that while the City will play its part, citizens too must take responsibility.
“I would like to first thank the citizens of this community. They contacted the Mayor and City Council. We got together. We did the bridges, we did the cleaning and then they requested some assistance to reduce the flooding. We are grateful and this is the kind of cooperation that City Council is looking forward to so that we can work together to keep the city clean,” she said.
Mr. Navin Persaud, who was the resident who took to his knees to plead for the Minister’s intervention, said that he is grateful that Minister Harmon has taken such a proactive approach. He also committed to providing the manpower to conduct clean up exercises when the tools are provided to the community.
“We are pretty much grateful to Mr. Harmon for upholding his word. We are pleased that the work is being done. The residents of Alexander Village are appreciative,” he said.
A resident of Fourth Street, Ms. Coletta McDonald, in an invited comment, said that she is pleased that the Minister heeded the calls of the residents as they have suffered for numerous years.
“We are happy today that coming out of conversation with the Mayor and City Council and [the Office of the President], that the residents are now smiling because part of our problems are being resolved. Over the years we would have had lots and lots of flooding and we would have had issues with our bridges and markings on our roads but we are quite happy that the Minister was able to stand on his word and we will count on him for many more works. We are quite pleased with this and we want to pledge that our community will be kept clean. On behalf of the residents of Alexander Village, I want to say thank you,” she said.
Mr. Andrew Persaud, a resident of First Street, in an invited comment, said that he will become the environmental warden for that area and will ensure that persons who litter in the canal are handed over to the authorities. Mayor Chase-Green, on this note, committed to being responsive to any complaints received by her office on the issue of littering the area.