Tremendous improvements in Berbice under President Jagdeo
----says GINA report
Guyana Chronicle
May 31, 2002

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THE ‘Ancient County’ of Berbice will this weekend host the latest Cabinet Retreat of the PPP/Civic Government. President Bharrat Jagdeo, Ministers of the Government, and other Government officials will visit Berbice for the whole weekend.

The President and party will arrive in East Berbice and the Corentyne this evening, and will remain there throughout Saturday and Sunday, returning to Georgetown on Sunday evening.

Since assuming the Presidency in August 1999, after the resignation of former President Janet Jagan due to ill health, President Jagdeo has made it an important part of his style of leadership to take the Cabinet to various parts of the country. The first such Cabinet Outreach was in the bauxite-mining town of Linden in October 1999, just a few months after President Jagdeo was sworn in to the highest office in the land.

Subsequently, Cabinet Retreats were held in Berbice (Region Six) and the Essequibo Coast (Region Two). Taking Cabinet to the people is intended to demonstrate the Government’s concern for the welfare of residents in the particular region as well as to connect informally and intimately with the people. The inhabitants of the specific Region will recognise that the Government is taking a dynamic approach to problem- solving at the community and district levels, because, very often, many of these problems become lost and buried under more urgent and perhaps more important business.

From the evidence of previous Cabinet Retreats, the people welcome these opportunities to interact with their President and Government. The response has been overwhelming as vast numbers of people have turned out in the past to, not only greet the President, but to make use of the opportunity to air their concerns at the highest level, being assured that their representations would be speedily addressed.

This weekend Berbicians will be afforded another opportunity to interact with their Government. The President and Ministers, after their official meetings and engagements, will fan out across the Region to meet the people and listen to their concerns. Rallies and meetings are planned for various locations so that the President will get the opportunity to meet as many people as possible.

This Cabinet Outreach in Berbice comes at a time when the Ancient County has seen quite a lot of development and improvement. Under the leadership of President Jagdeo, there have been tremendous strides in recent times in this once neglected area. Berbicians are now proud of their achievements and status, and they are confident that they can look forward to the future with hope and optimism.

On his several visits to Berbice since 1999, President Jagdeo made a number of promises to the people in this Region. Below is a summary of these promises, and it is reproduced for the benefit of Berbicians, as well as others, to demonstrate that the President is a person who always fulfills his promises.

The University of Guyana, Berbice Campus, was established at Tain, Port Mourant. Over 200 students are now pursuing courses at this institution. The Government has budgeted more money this year for the extension of the Campus;

A new Primary School at Orealla has been completed. The Tagore High School at No. 63 Village is currently being extended;

A new nursery school has been constructed at Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice.

Rehabilitation and maintenance works have been undertaken on the East Bank Berbice/Mora road. At present road works are continuing in phases.

There has also been rehabilitation of the Black Bush Polder roads, and the work is ongoing in phases;

There has also been rehabilitation works to sections of the Corentyne Highway and the road to Moleson Creek;

Upgrading of numerous internal roads in villages, e.g., High Reef (Albion), Cropper School Street, Topoo, New Forest, etc;

Rural electrification: a number of villages have been electrified in Central Corentyne and East Canje. The Programme is ongoing;

Improvements to Drainage and Irrigation: There have numerous D&I works in this Region recently: some of these are clearing of outfall channels at Lesbeholden, Joppa, No. 43, No. 66 etc; rehabilitation of sluices/kokers e.g., at Letter Kenny, Sussex, etc; and rehabilitation of canals e.g., No. 52-74, Seaforth Canal, etc.

Several markets in Region Six have been rehabilitated and/or extended under the Urban Rehabilitation Programme. These include Corriverton market, which is being rehabilitated and extended at the present time; Rose Hall Town, where the contract for a new market has been awarded; and New Amsterdam, where rehabilitation work on the market is in progress;

There has been tremendous improvement in water supply throughout the entire Region. Some areas which have benefitted include New Amsterdam, East Bank Berbice, e.g. Rotterdam, Lonsdale, etc, and Alness to No. One Village, where work is in progress. Some residents in areas such a Rose Hall are already benefitting from the extension and upgrading of water services in the Region;

Assistance to the Police Force in Berbice has also been increased. The additional funds will be channelled into training, increased patrolling and purchasing of equipment and vehicles;

House lot distribution has improved. Housing Minister, Mr. Shaik Baksh has reported that the housing situation in Berbice is not as acute as it was some years ago, and in fact the demand is slackening. Titles and leases have also been issued for farmlands, as agriculture expands in this area;

A cross border ferry service between Guyana and Suriname is now in operation. This service has greatly facilitated movement of people and goods between the two countries;

The Amerindian communities at Orealla/Siparuta have received supplies of boat engines, sewing machines, spray equipment and sports gears;

There has been improved management of Amerindian hostels at Springlands and New Amsterdam.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. For example, the contract for the new New Amsterdam Hospital is about to be signed, once a few minor glitches are ironed out. In addition, more jobs will be created with the opening on two Information Technology centres, as well as the opening up of the Intermediate Savannahs where several investors have already started operations. The construction of the new Skeldon sugar factory will soon commence and so too will the bridge over the Berbice River.

Another important development is the building of a new, regional airport at Albion, which will make it unnecessary for Berbicians to travel the long, arduous journey to Timehri by road. This airport will also facilitate travel from Berbice to the Caribbean.

All these developments have been undertaken during the term of President Bharrat Jagdeo. This demonstrates the keen interest that the President has for the residents of the Ancient County. Berbicians can be assured that with President Jagdeo at the Head of Government in this country, their concerns and aspirations will be well looked after. With such an impressive record of achievement in Berbice, the President and his cabinet colleagues can definitely look forward to a successful Cabinet Outreach in Berbice this weekend.