Georgetown, Guyana – (April 17, 2019) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon and Minister of Public Affairs, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams, who were in Tain, East Berbice- Corentyne (Region Six) for the ‘Government to the People’ initiative yesterday, met with residents of Albion, Liverpool/Manchester and Fyrish/Gibraltar to discuss and treat several of their concerns.
Stopping first at Liverpool/Manchester, Ministers Harmon and Hastings-Williams met with the young people as well as the elderly residents to listen to some of the challenges in their community, which included complaints about drainage and irrigation, security and public infrastructure.
The Minister of State, on the spot, took a decision to hire two excavators owned by a villager to clear the waterways in the area. He also made it pellucid that all persons needed for the operation must be hired from within the community. He also committed to raising the other matters with the relevant subject Ministers.
In an invited comment, resident, Mr. Wilson Monroe said he was pleasantly surprised to see the Minister addressing concerns of residents on the spot. “I am happy to see the Minister here today and I hope that we will see some changes in the coming days,” he said.
From Manchester, the ministerial team travelled to Albion to fulfil a promise Minister Harmon made to residents at the ‘Bringing the Government to the People’ event held at the University of Guyana’s Tain Campus that he would visit to take a look at the condition of their road, which was their main complaint.
Resident, Mr. Imtiaz Bacchus, said Minister Harmon’s visit to his village is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to responding to the needs of residents.
“I am very happy to see the Government coming to the people. I know that there are many negative comments that because of the no-confidence vote this is why they are coming, but it is never too late and now that they are coming to the people, seeing the people, and addressing their issues, I am happy. This is the way the Government should operate all the time and I pleased that the Minister took the time to come here and see the road for himself,” he said.
Over at the Fyrish Basketball Court, Minister Harmon told the crowd gathered there that the Government considers the community meetings and public day activities to be an important exercise in the conduct of Government business.
“Our Government must interface with the people at all levels so that the people can feel and be a part of Government’s plans. These outreaches are another tier in responding to the needs of the people and rebuilding the relationship between the people and the Government. We are here to listen to you. Some of the issues we will have solutions to, others we will have to follow up on. This is not responding to any singular thing like the no-confidence motion; this is us continuing what we started in 2015 by taking Public Days and Government services to the people. We are here to promote inclusive governance by listening to your concerns, taking criticisms and addressing what needs to be addressed,” he said.
Minister Harmon also noted that the administration is cognisant that most persons simply require better access to Government services and amenities such as water, roads, lights and recreational facilities and it is the duty of the Government to provide same.
“We have already started the process of decentralising services so that residents can access services in their own regions. Recently, we opened a Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission office in New Amsterdam and so we are going to be opening the Department of Citizenship’s office very soon, to deal with your birth certificates and passports. We are doing all of this so that the services can be close to you and all of the Government services will be decentralised in a similar manner. We will give you ‘farm to market’ roadways because it is a priority for us; we will give you better road ways; we are going to be spending money on things that benefit you. These are the things we are working on so these outreaches are not a flash in the pond ideas. They will become a consistent programme of bringing Government to you,” he said.
Additionally, Minister Harmon announced that soon the Government will be establishing a medical institution on the Corentyne Coast to ensure easier and faster access to health services.
Minister Hastings-Williams echoed these sentiments even as she noted that the Government is one that listens to the people and residents can rest assured that their issues would receive the utmost consideration.
“We did not only come here to have our Cabinet meeting but to engage you, the residents, and listen to your concerns. Your Government is one that listens to the people. We have mandated ourselves to bring the Government and service to the people irrespective of where you live. We have already started rolling out numerous projects and programmes, which can make the lives of Guyanese better and you know this. You have already benefited from the President’s ‘Boats, Buses and Bicycles’ programme, which is easing the burden on the pockets of parents,” she said.
At the close of the meeting, Minister Harmon committed to engaging the Ministry of Public Infrastructure with the view of having a team from that entity visit to examine the state of the roads, while the Ministry of Social Cohesion has already committed to providing a recreational facility for the community.