Georgetown, Guyana – (April 25, 2019) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, commissioned a spanking new $32 million sub-office for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Whim, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six). The office marks the first sub-office for the agency and the first in a series of planned regional offices.
Minister Harmon, in his remarks, said that the commissioning is a testament to the efforts the Government is making to ensure that every Guyanese has access to public services. He noted that the commissioning comes on the heels of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission’s New Amsterdam sub-office, which was commissioned in March and a soon-to-be opened Passport office in the region.
“The Passport office will be opened within another month or so and I want to say that Government services are being deployed in such a way that it is getting closer and closer to where people live and work. This is the Government providing services to the people of Guyana irrespective of where they live, be it on the coast or hinterland, so in this respect, you are seeing the developments that are taking place. This building represents the expansion of the EPA and its services to the people of this country as the first regional office in the country,” he said.
Previously, any resident desirous of accessing the EPA’s services would have had to travel from the region to Sophia, Greater Georgetown. Minister Harmon said that the office will now make that practice a thing of the past and therefore demonstrates the seriousness which Government places public services and access.
Mayor of Rose Hall, His Worship, Chattergoon Ramnauth, also shared these sentiments and commended the move by the EPA to increase its geographical spread.
“The Agency is here now, but it was a tedious task going to Sophia. It is time consuming and costly. We pledge our support to this Agency and you can rest assured that we will provide our cooperation,” he said.
Minister Harmon also issued a call for more attention to be placed on preserving the environment, noting that it is everyone’s business.
Meanwhile, Head of the Board of Directors of the EPA, Dr. Patrick Williams, in his remarks said that the opening of the office brings personal satisfaction as it has always been his wish for the agency to spread its reach.
“For the longest while I have been advocating for our services to be taken to the people. For too long, people from the length and breadth of Guyana have been travelling to the centralised area in Georgetown to get business done. That should not be the case. We should be able to take service to our clients and improve the efficiency in which we can carry out our tasks,” he said.
Executive Director of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams echoed these sentiments, noting that the office is the first step in reaching out to the Agency’s clientele, while ensuring that there is greater efficiency in the services provided.
“We have authorised over 1,200 permits across the country and you can appreciate the challenges of us getting out there. We have to go out there and check and verify the operations, so this is a major step forward in reaching our customers. In addition to travelling and logistics being costly to us, it is also very inconvenient and costly for operators to get to us in Georgetown and so this is a major step. We have also sent a letter to all Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) asking them to avail some space in their offices so that we can go out maybe three days per week and provide the services to the citizens so they don’t have to go through all the difficulties of getting to us,” Dr. Adams said.
The Executive Director noted that all members of staff are drawn from the region and that the second such office will be opened in Linden next month.
Additionally, President of the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) Mr. Mohamed Raffik also commended the initiative even as he noted that the Agency will receive the support of the business community and the CCCC. He also issued a call for all citizens of the region to work with the Agency to make Guyana a better place.