Intensifying the decentralisation of Government services Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
October 23, 2002

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WITH most Government offices and agencies centralised in Georgetown, many people, especially from outlying communities, incur heavy travelling and accommodation costs and severe inconvenience when they need to transact matters at these offices and agencies.

This puts an enormous strain on the purses of people, especially those in the low income bracket, who form a significant proportion in the rural communities.

In many instances these transactions are not completed in a day and consequently, those affected have to remain in Georgetown for several days or alternatively travel back to their respective communities and return to the city.

This of course means additional sums of money, inconvenience and time.

And because many of these people are farmers or are employed in an industry, they can suffer losses while being away on such business in Georgetown.

All these factors have a negative cyclical effect on the national economy, which needs to be significantly improved to boost living standards of all the people of this country.

The Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security has commendably taken an initiative to facilitate the obtaining of birth certificates for poor and underprivileged persons en bloc.

This is indeed very helpful but has its limitations because of the numerous peculiarities and the wide variety of transactions that need to be done at various government institutions.

Against this background the announcement by President Bharrat Jagdeo over the weekend to intensify the decentralisation of Government services is heartening and timely, especially in light of the present crime wave - because apart from the costs and inconvenience many people are now fearful about travelling to Georgetown.

The President said at a meeting in Berbice that the Government is trying to decentralise more and more things (services) to Berbice "like we are doing in Essequibo and we will do in Linden so that people who live in outlying areas don't have to travel to Georgetown for everything".

"Already we are doing some passports and stuff like that and as soon as I get back to Georgetown I will push them to get birth certificates and marriage licences and death certificates and everything that people can get in Georgetown - you will get it right here in Berbice," he said to the applause of Berbicians.

This is reassuring news indeed, especially for residents in Linden and Berbice, who can look forward to an end to the current hassles, and hazards, of having to travel to the capital for some basic services.

The President's announcement in Berbice should also go a long way in allaying the fears being instilled by some groups that the Government is insulated from the problems of the ordinary people.