Stream of projects to boost Berbice development -Jagdeo

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
March 4, 2000

Guyana's Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday outlined his vision for development in Berbice at a recommissioning ceremony of the 50-year-old Berbice Educational Institute in New Amsterdam.

Speaking at the mid-afternoon ceremony, President Jagdeo told the packed school hall that several major projects and plans were in the pipeline to spur development in the region.

The plan to build a bridge across the Berbice River, he disclosed, was proceeding apace and work on the project was expected to commence soon. Discussions on the establishment of a deep-water harbour to facilitate future development and expansion were also underway, he said. He also mentioned the planned expansion programme on the Corentyne by the Guyana Sugar Corporation.

According to Mr Jagdeo, some 120,000 acres of land will soon come under cultivation in the East Canje reservoir scheme, while a plywood plant is to be constructed in the Berbice River by mid-year. "Within the next two years another plywood plant would be established in the riverain area," he disclosed.

President Jagdeo also referred to the likely opening of a new mine in the Ituni area and the search for strategic investors for the Berbice Mining Enterprise (Bermine) and the Linden Mining Enterprise (Linmine).

He also reminded the gathering that the Berbice campus of the University of Guyana will begin offering tuition from the new school term in September.

"The combination of all these things," he reasoned, "will hopefully help to influence people to stay in the region."

The head of state expressed hope over Guyana's future saying he was "very optimistic [that] if we all work hard we can be a part of Guyana's bright future."

He urged parents "to insulate our children from politics and the divisiveness that is being preached in some quarters. Teach our children skills to cope with the future. Give our children a chance to get an education."

The school was launched as a private institution with a board of management by the late Alfred Ramlochan at Pilot Street in New Amsterdam and was named after its founder. In 1962 it was shifted to its present site and became a government school in 1976. Headmistress of the school, Landomae Fraser, announced that sections of the school will be renamed after former heads Alfred Ramlochan, Rajkishore Mangal and Urna Haywood.

Harry Narine Nawbatt, director of the Social Impact Amelioration Programme, which executed the project, said that some 17,170 square feet of the building was rehabilitated, while there was an expansion of 3,640 square feet. The contract was initially signed for $26 million but is expected to exceed $31 million. The refurbished and extended building will now accommodate 700 students.

According to Nawbatt, the sponsors, the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), contributed some $3.5 million towards the project.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Regional Chairman, Rohit Persaud; Regional Education Officer, N. Khan; and Contractor Michael Ameerally who called on students and staff to care and maintain the building.