Essequibo village goes solar
February 12, 2003
A $4M solar-powered electricity supply system was last Thursday commissioned in Bethany, an Amerindian settlement in the Supenaam River.
Funded by the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP), the system is expected to supply power to 330 residents, says a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The Bethany Community Centre, the Primary\Nursery School, and the Health Centre are some of the community buildings expected to benefit from the system.
Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues commissioned the system and commended the partnership between the community and the government. Residents provided security for the construction materials and labour for mounting the solar panels.
Executive Director of SIMAP, Harrynarine Nawbatt said the Institute of Allied Sciences and Technology (IAST) was commissioned by SIMAP to install the solar panels and the electrical fittings that went along with it.
The solar panels have an estimated life-span of five years, after which time they may need to be replaced. SIMAP has trained residents to ensure their proper maintenance, GINA said.
Rodrigues also commissioned the Bethany Main Road, two bridges and a boat shed. At least $300,000 was contributed by the community to the road project with the village council providing $250,000. Pastor Oliver Subryan, an overseas based Guyanese whose wife was born in Bethany, contributed US$1100, after he visited the community in 2001.
With assistance from the Youth Challenge International Organisation residents assisted in the construction of the road, gathering wood and logs from the backlands and fetching sand to the work site.
Residents also aided in the construction of a boat shed to accommodate persons waiting to board a boat out of Bethany, which can only be reached by boat from the Supenaam Stelling.