Georgetown, Guyana – (March 23, 2019) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, this evening, commissioned 29 standpipes in Durban Backlands North also known as Burnham Boulevard. 

This is the first time that the community, which is unregulated has received potable water since the 1960s.

In addressing residents at a simple ceremony, Minister Harmon said that the provision of water facilities is a testimony of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that every Guyanese, no matter their geographical location or economic circumstances are able to benefit from services that they rightfully deserve. 

“For other people, this might not mean anything but for you, who are having water being delivered to your homestead for the first time in so many years, this is the Government bringing to you, public services and the good life. Water is a right. It is no longer a privilege, it is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). It is a human right and so this level to which we have actually put potable water is something which the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has been working very hard to ensure that we can satisfy that requirement all over Guyana,” Minister Harmon said. 

The Minister of State noted that since the community is not yet regularised, pipes cannot be run to individual homes. However, he stated that he has engaged the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) and other related Ministries and agencies to ensure that some work is done in the community to make life easier for the residents. 

“This is the beginning. We need to get water into your homes but to get water into your homes, we have to regularise this community so that we can have water taken directly to your homes; proper address, lights and every other amenity which is a part of living in Georgetown and I have asked the CHPA to pay attention to this.  We cannot have people living in the city and living in an unregulated community.  It cannot work.  It is a challenge which I have thrown out.  Water is just the first step and your Government will continue to deliver to the people of this community.  That is why we are here. We want to ensure that all Guyanese irrespective of where they are, we want to provide them with a good life. We are taking service to the people so this a tangible demonstration of what the Government is doing and will continue to do,” he stated.   –PTO–

Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charles, in his remarks, said that as his organisation commemorates World Water Day, which was celebrated on March 22, 2019 under the theme “No one left behind”, the agency has taken the slogan very seriously and would be working to ensure that no Guyanese is left behind when it comes to access to potable water. 

“For us in Guyana, we are going to be for the rest of this month and throughout next month, commissioning a number of initiatives in different communities because this is a very critical aspect and it is linked to a programme under the United Nations but more particularly, it is in sync with the direction of our President when he calls on us to ensure that there are no inequities among our people.  Water is a very essential component and access to water is something that we are moving apace across the country.  I think no later than 2025, all of our people should be able to have access to potable water, whether on the Coast, hinterland or riverine areas,” the CEO said. 

He noted that the water is safe for consumption but it is dependent on the way in which residents care for and manage the resource. 

Meanwhile, one resident, Ms. Anandrea said she has been living in the area for the past four years but from what she has been told, her fellow residents have been without water for as much as 40 years. 

“Let me tell you, right now I am so, so happy.  I have been here for four years and no water much less these people who have lived here for so long.  I want to say thank you to the Government and to the Guyana Water Authority for making this happen for us.  It really means a lot to us and will bring convenience to our homes,” she said. 


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