Georgetown, Guyana – (February 20, 2020) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, on behalf of President David Granger, yesterday, commissioned a $64.5 million water supply system in Paramakatoi, Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight). Approximately 1,200 residents are expected to benefit from the system, which is the first such infrastructure to have ever been erected in the village.

The First Lady also declared open the Regional Agriculture and Commercial Exhibition (RACE).

Mrs. Granger, during her address at the commissioning ceremony, said President Granger attaches great importance to the development of the hinterland and the improvement of the lives of every citizen of Guyana regardless of where they reside. She said the water supply system is a demonstration of the Government’s acknowledgement and respect for hinterland communities.
“It means that women and children no longer have the burden of fetching water over long distances to their homes and farms…. It means that farmers no longer have to worry about their crops and livestock in times of drought. It means that our women and children can have time to relax and engage in social activities, instead of having that time spent fetching water up and down several times a day,” the First Lady said.

Meanwhile, residents expressed appreciation for the water supply system, noting that it has lessened the burden of carrying out daily chores.

Ms. Judy Butters, a teacher of the Paramakatoi Nursery School, was particularly grateful for the system.

“I used to walk about 20 minutes to get to the spring to fetch water. Thanks to GWI, I don’t have to do that anymore… I don’t have to set water to cook. I come home [and] I turn on my pipe and there is water. We have water all day and it has made my life a lot easier, and I’m not the only one that is benefiting, it’s the entire community,” she said.

Ms. Sherry Balkaran a village councillor, also expressed gratitude to the Government for undertaking the project.

“Since GWI came here and would have given us the opportunity of getting fresh water, we would have benefitted greatly and I’m very thankful and happy that we were remembered by the Government of Guyana and GWI. I no longer have to walk long distances to get water. I get running water right in my yard,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard van West-Charles explained that in 2017, the GWI signed an agreement with the Paramakatoi Village Council to solve the community’s challenge of accessing potable water. The villagers had identified two springs which were merging into a basin which was flowing into the Paramakatoi Mountain as a possible water source, he said, adding that GWI subsequently started the technical work.

Dr. van West-Charles also disclosed that GWI, working in collaboration with residents, was able to ensure that drinkable water began following through the community’s taps.

“In development, understanding local knowledge and appreciating local knowledge is very important… It wasn’t difficult for us when we were approached by the residents and the Council because we have listened to the guidance of His Excellency, the President. He clearly identifies the importance of addressing the inequities between the hinterland regions and the coastal regions,” he said.

The CEO also said that in four years the GWI has dug a total of 48 wells, 25 of which are in hinterland communities.

Meanwhile, the First Lady said the Exhibition presents yet another opportunity for the community to celebrate. She said the RACE is a step in the right direction and will not only bring tremendous benefits to Paramakatoi but to the entire Potaro- Siparuni Region.

“It will help to bring economic benefit to you and to the people of this region because it not only helps you to show off your agro-processing and production capacity but you can also congratulate yourself for being the first region to host the RACE for 2020,” Mrs. Granger said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan, expressed confidence that the RACE exhibition will continue to grow. He opined that the exhibition provides an excellent opportunity for the Ten Administrative Regions to showcase their agricultural potential.

Mr. Akeem Campbell, Livestock Extension Assistant of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority said the GLDA was pleased to participate in RACE. “We are pleased to be here and we have a special bird on display … the Jersey black bird. It is a dual-purpose bird that can be used for both the production of eggs and meat. It is also a low maintenance species that will thrive well in the hinterland,” he said.

Other agencies including the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), along with several local farmers also participated in the Exhibition.

Toshao of Paramakatoi, Mr. Gideon John; Regional Chairman, Mr. Bonaventure Fredericks and Regional Executive Officer, Ms. Mitzy Campbell also attended the event.

Both the commissioning and Exhibition were held at the Paramakatoi community ground.

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