Nokta completes ministerial outreach visit along Berbice River

Guyana Chronicle
March 20, 2003

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RESIDENTS of several communities along Berbice River in Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) highlighted problems affecting them during a recent three-day visit there by Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr Harripersaud Nokta.

Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that the issuance and renewal of firearms licences and transportation were among the concerns raised with Nokta, as he continued the ongoing ministerial outreach to ascertain what is needed for further community development countrywide.

The report said he gave the complainants the assurance that, although they live in far off locations, they are not forgotten in the development thrust and the Government is working to ensure they are provided with modern facilities and social services.

Nokta went to Maria Henrietta, Wiruni, St Lust, Ebini, Kimbia, Fort Nassau, Sand Hills, De Veldt and Calcuni where he held public meetings.

Accompanying him were Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo, Regional Executive Officer Basil Benn, Regional Engineer Herbert English and Regional Information Officer Leon Roberts.

At Maria Henrietta, people pointed to minor defects on the primary school building and requested assistance for agricultural pursuits, mainly the cultivation of corn.

The lack of markets for produce was blamed on the locations being scattered and situated miles away from Kwakwani, Linden and New Amsterdam, making transport almost impossible, GINA said.

Farmers asked for a boat and engine to help convey their goods to suitable market places.

GINA said Nokta noted improvements in Maria Henrietta, including the extension of the school and rehabilitation of its stairs but the parents of pupils requested that the structure be given a facelift and painted.

Mingo undertook to have the steps repaired but called on the villagers to identify a suitably qualified person among them to complete the works within four weeks.

He disclosed that the Education Department proposals for this year include work on the school but said the Regional Administration has to await budget approval.

Benn confirmed plans to construct a health posts in every community of the region.

Wiruni folks said a truck would alleviate their transportation difficulties as they have access to a Linden road link for selling lumber.

Planters spoke of Acoushi ants infestation and Nokta said he would discuss it with Amerindian Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues.

He said he would speak to Director of Sports Neil Kumar about donating gear for different recreational activities and games.

The need for firearms was highlighted by villagers who said wild animals attack their crops but the renewal of licences process is slow, even after applicants have travelled the long distance to Kwakwani.

Mingo said he would talk to Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj with the aim of finding an appropriate solution.

Transport was also on the complaints list at St Lust and Ebini, like at Kimbia and Sand Hills, where the need for a separate nursery school was mentioned.

At Fort Nassau, an additional teacher, a medex, seedlings for planting and gun licences formed the requests while, at De Veldt, Nokta urged villagers to identify a site for a new school.

Meantime, he said discussions are ongoing about teachers' quarters.

A community meeting at Calcuni heard about inadequate postal service, a shortage of drugs and non-receipt of royalty from AMCAR for the cabbage reaped there.

Minister Nokta encouraged more cultivation despite constraints and said he would refer the royalties complaint to Minister Rodrigues.

Nokta agreed that establishment of a Community Development Council (CDC) would help although the Village Council exists at Calcuni.

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