Finally, a water treatment plant uphill
April 16, 2004
AS we muse aloud about the challenges of our age, some things take precedence.
For government, business and consumers alike, one of the most prominent is the acquisition of utility services by an increasingly sophisticated Guyanese citizenry.
Whatever their other concerns, people generally consider fresh drinking water, electricity, and telephones basic to any standard of living - even below the poverty line.
No wonder, then, they fret so much and seek publicity to vent their grievances when potable water doesn't flow through their taps at the quality and in the quantity they crave, when blackouts - no matter how infrequently - plunge homes and neighbourhoods into darkness and threaten the longevity of electrical appliances, and/or when they don't get the telephones they've long applied for, or when circuits are continually too busy to facilitate their calls.
In Bartica, the focus yesterday was clearly on water. For after years of nurturing thoughts of us being able to enjoy fresh drinking water aplenty from selected rivers and streams uphill, a water treatment plant was finally commissioned at Bartica yesterday by President Bharrat Jagdeo.
As Minister Shaik Baksh said when he spoke at the commissioning ceremony, it cost Government a lot to put the plant on stream.
It did, indeed. But the expenditure of $450 million was worth it. Not only because Government is committed to providing Barticians and Guyanese elsewhere with a reliable supply of safe drinking water, but considering the state of the country's economy and the relatively small populace that can now boast such a state-of-the-art facility, public spending on the plant at this time underscores the seriousness it attaches to the slogan, "Development with a human face."
Government expects to spend about $1.5 billion on improving potable water supply services to Guyanese this year. As has been the case over the years, Government will be relying on foreign capital inflows to supplement its expenditure on utility services from revenue earnings.
Water is an essential production input and so ensuring its availability at affordable cost to business, as to ordinary consumers, is vital to facilitating an environment that is conducive to healthy, sustained economic growth.
Encouraged by a government that, for all its shortcomings, is resiliently dedicated to facilitating business as the engine of growth, the operation of the water treatment plant at Bartica is synonymous to spreading out a welcoming mat to investors.
Barticians are overjoyed at being able to access a reliable 24-hour service from the plant, and we expect the Bartica business community to take full advantage of its operation.
All Guyana now looks forward to the Ministry of Housing and Water fulfilling its mandate to provide at least 95 percent of the country's citizenry with satisfactory flows of potable water in the not-too-distant future.