Georgetown, Guyana – (April 6, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to decentralising and improving access to Government services for every Guyanese as he turned the sod for the construction of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission’s (GLSC) new office in New Amsterdam, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six).

At a simple ceremony held at the location secured for the projected $30.8 million construction project, Minister Harmon said that the Government has a responsibility to ensure that all the services of the state are available to all the people of Guyana, regardless of geographic location, political affiliation or any other factor.

“The building here of the GLSC is a further elaboration of that commitment of which we have to the people and I want to commend Commission for this. I want to commend the Regional Chairman because I know that his heart is in the development of the region. Irrespective of which party is in power our commitment is to the service of the people of Guyana and so this is what we are doing. Irrespective of where we are, where service has to be provided then the Government has to provide to the people wherever they live. We have made that commitment to this country that we will look after the ordinary man and to the extent to which Government service would be provided to as near as possible to people where they live. That is the commitment we have,” he said.

Minister Harmon also addressed the staff of the Commission present, noting that the new building should not be about the office space for the staff and convenience but more importantly, it should represent the quality of service, which the people of Guyana have a right to expect from the public service. “This, I trust, will emphasise comfort for the people rather than just the staff. Due to the bulk of the people that come here, they must be comfortable when they come into a Government building and experience a service that is of the highest quality,” Minister Harmon noted.

Head of the GLSC, Mr. Trevor Benn, in his remarks, noted that the Commission was previously housed at the Regional Democratic Council’s (RDC) office and while it has served its purpose at that location, the Commission has outgrown the space as a result of the volume of work, which has to be addressed. “As you would appreciate, with the coming of oil, Region Six has become a very important region to many of the perspective participants of the oil industry and they’re coming to us and they’re looking for land in this area. In addition to that, we have observed that a lot more of our people in the region are returning to the land for agriculture purposes, rice being one of the main areas. So we want to be able to be in a position to offer the support and help that people need when they come to the region looking for land. I hope that with this new building, the residents can be better served and that we are able to fulfill the expectations of our clients from Region Six,” he said.

With the construction of the new building in New Amsterdam, the Commission expects that the Board of Directors will now be able to take its meetings to the various locations to interact more with the residents of the areas. “We’ve done this already. Two meetings ago we came here to New Amsterdam. It is my wish that we can move the meetings around, not only for the sake of the members of the Board, but also that we can get closer to the community so we can understand the issues that affect members of the community,” Mr. Benn said.

Regional Chairman, Mr. David Armogan, in brief comments, said that the event marks a very important development in the Region especially since the Region has a number of issues that have to be dealt with by that Commission.

“There is need now because as we all know there are very many issues relating to land in this Region and records and so has to be kept properly. So I’m very happy that this building is about to go up. This is a nice spot here I believe and that this I’m sure is not too far away from what is the busy area in New Amsterdam. So I await the completion of the building, so that better services could be provided to the people of Region Six,” Mr. Armogan noted.

Mayor of New Amsterdam, Ms. Winifred Heywood, said that the Town Council is pleased that the Government is undertaking initiatives, which will improve the lives of residents in that area. “I am extremely happy that this is happening not only in Region Six but in the town of New Amsterdam and it is adding to all the pluses that has been happening in this town. I want to thank the Government for all that is happening and it is happening at a time where we are really trying our best to restore this town to its former glory. As this town restores we are seeing that there are additional buildings, which will really serve us effectively and efficiently,” Ms. Heywood said.

After the sod turning exercise, Minister Harmon planted a Poui tree, which he said, is hoped to be the first of many to be planted there.

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