Georgetown, Guyana – (June 30, 2019) The Village of Aliki along the Essequibo River, Essequibo Islands- West Demerara (Region Three) is expected to see major developments over the next few months, following a visit by Director General of Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon and Minister of Business, Mr. Haimraj Rajkumar at the Aliki Primary School.
The Director General and Minister of Business also participated in a community meeting. Mr. Harmon in brief remarks, noted that the community meeting is in keeping with a mandate, which has been given by President David Granger.
“He has said that we must go out to the people, hear their concerns and make decisions on the ground. I am here to address your concerns, solve the ones we can and for those that we cannot address here, we will refer it to the relevant agencies. Your concerns are important to us. This is the clear message we want to send, that no village or person will be left out in our developmental planning. I did a walkabout and I can see the need for certain things and we have already taken some of these things on board and we will fix them,” he said.
During the meeting, Mr. Harmon informed the residents that the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) has already started work to have internet connectivity in the village. This, he said, will be up and running by the end of this year.
Following a request from the residents for a school boat to be placed in the location, Mr. Harmon disclosed that a boat is available for the community but an outboard engine has to be sourced.
In this regard, the Director General said efforts will be made to ensure the boat is fitted with an engine. The engine will be delivered to the community in time for the new school term in September.
Further, the residents, who are primarily farmers, also made an appeal for drainage and irrigation works in the area as well as a new playground for the youth of the community. The two government officials committed to have the works undertaken. Residents from neighbouring Caria Caria who were present at the meeting were also asked to present a proposal for their community ground to be upgraded.
Additionally, one young resident made an appeal for Government sponsored programmes for young people, particularly persons who have not been able to complete their secondary education.
To this end, the Director General informed the community that the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection will be starting a programme from September 2019. This programme, he said, will cater to this group of young people from Aliki.
“My understanding is that there is a programme which will be implemented from September. The aim of this project is to allow early school leavers at Aliki Village to write their secondary school examination which will then qualify you for tertiary education and employment so I can say that something is being done about it. The next thing is to get you into secondary schools. We have some issues we have to address in that regard since persons leaving here might require a school that has live in facilities so we will have to speak to the community so that we can get our young people into the education system. There are monies allocated and so it is really a matter of working out the arrangements with the community. We are a caring Government and we will take care of our young people,” the Director General shared.
Residents also raised concerns about skills training and expressed a desire to have these trainings facilitated in their village. To this end, Mr. Harmon noted that the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) have budgeted for several trainings in the areas of Boat Building and Agro-Processing among others for the community and these will commence as soon as funds are released by the Ministry of Finance.
Meanwhile, Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Three, Mrs. Jennifer Ferreira- Dougall said she visited the community last Tuesday and addressed several other issues, including much needed upgrades to the community’s health centre. She noted that some works have already started while the others will soon follow.
The REO also noted that she has been able to hire skilled personnel such as plumbers from the community to complete works on the health centre and as long as residents are skilled and able to contribute to any of the projects to be undertaken, they will be given opportunities to do so.
Additionally, in keeping with an appeal made by the senior citizens during her visit last week, Mrs. Ferreira-Dougall prepared eight hampers and a quantity of sports gear for the youth, which were handed over by Mr. Harmon and Minister Rajkumar.
Chairman of the village, Mr. Danny Cummings in his remarks said he is grateful for the visit as the community has several challenges, which they wanted to be addressed.
Minister of Business, Mr. Rajkumar assured the community that issues that require follow up or further intervention will be treated with the urgency it deserves.