Message from Essequibo Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
April 26, 2002

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ESSEQUIBO was once referred to as the `Cinderella County' because of the decades of neglect which resulted in massive poverty levels, stifling both the development of human and natural resources, resulting in poverty and depressed communities.

It was a tragedy that the largest and probably most beautiful county, about 40,000 square miles of Guyana's 83,000 square miles, was so terribly mistreated.

However, if one were to visit the Essequibo Coast now, the many mud dams, clogged drains, dilapidated houses without electricity supply, rundown schools and health centres have been dramatically reduced.

There are improved housing, better roads and an abundance of businesses, especially in the service category, burgeoning right across the coast.

And it should also be noted that recently the first batch of Police Officers graduated from the newly established Richard Faikal Police College on the Essequibo Coast.

Of course, it is not all a "bed of roses" - there are still problems but living conditions have considerably improved and efforts are being continued to further develop all the communities.

In this respect, Regional Chairman, Mr. Ali Baksh, during the commissioning ceremony of the Essequibo Technical Institute, announced that four new secondary schools will be built, and importantly, those communities to benefit include the Pomeroon and other remote areas in the region.

The opportunity is certainly being created for the industrious and hard working people of Essequibo to unlock their tremendous talents to tap the vast natural resources potential to further develop the agricultural, commercial and industrial sectors.

It was therefore no surprise that Essequibians from all ethnic and social backgrounds were so enthusiastic about President Bharrat Jagdeo's visit there earlier this week to commission several major projects. Wherever he went, the President was warmly greeted and received by the people despite the inclement weather.

And the President delivered pertinent messages when he encouraged residents to make full use of the opportunities being continuously made available to them, stating at the Anna Regina Town Hall that while buildings are important, "what goes on inside is even more important."

He correctly urged the Town Council that it must become service-oriented and not only be a collector of rates and taxes.

He also urged residents to enroll at the Essequibo Technical Institute, which offers full time and evening classes, to further improve their educational levels so as to be equipped for the challenges ahead.

The relevance of this is obvious in view of the rapid global changes and the acceptance of education as the key in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment.

But, perhaps for Essequibians, the most important message for them was the President's declaration that "Essequibo will never be neglected again."

For too long too many Guyanese have had the misconception that Georgetown is Guyana, and what is taking place in Essequibo is further evidence that Georgetown is not Guyana.

Guyanese need to travel and see more of their country to truly appreciate the developmental process that is under way in this beautiful land, and to work in unity and peace, as the Essequibians have been and are doing.