East Berbice residents complain about NIS delays, poor roads
Stabroek News
May 9, 2007

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East Berbice residents complained to President Bharrat Jagdeo about delays in National Insurance Scheme (NIS) payments for retired workers and deplorable community roads when he visited the area on Saturday.

A Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) release said Jagdeo also met members of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Develop-ment Association (BCCDA) and urged them to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that will come with several major developmental projects.

Regarding the NIS payments, GINA quoted the President as saying: "This is unacceptable and unfair. NIS should not use their poor record-keeping to deny people who have been paying their money all the time... I will meet with theā€¦ senior managers and board members next week to deal with this issue.

All I want is for people to get what they work for." The problem of non-payment to pensioners by the NIS has been raised repeatedly over a number of years.

Jagdeo also met residents of Gangaram and Cumber-land, Canje and was apprised of the poor condition of the streets in those areas. He assured them that he was aware of their concerns but stated that more pressing issues have to be dealt with first. At New Amsterdam, the President checked on roads in the town and expressed satisfaction with what he saw.

GINA said that in 2005 government unveiled a $950 million street repair project for the towns of Region Six: New Amsterdam, Rose Hall and Corriverton. Several streets in New Amsterdam were targeted for facelifts while the road network in Rose Hall town was also repaired under a $600 million contract. Several other major road projects were completed in the region while others are ongoing, including the New Amsterdam to Moleson Creek road.

Meanwhile, after the discussions with the BCCI, President Jagdeo said, "I asked them to pay attention to the challenges that will come with the Skeldon modernization project and the Berbice River Bridge. I urged them not to be static in their analysis and to try to be a bit dynamic; to explore what these possibilities will bring and apprise their membership of what they can do."

Jagdeo, along with Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud also met cattle farmers whose cattle graze on the Guyana Sugar Corporation's lands, and the company's officials at the Port Mourant Training Centre.

GINA said the President promised, "We have to now work to concretize earlier discussions and see how we can assist farmers to prepare some new pastures so that they can exit the part that Guysuco needs for the expansion programme. In the next few weeks, the Agriculture Minister will be meeting with cattle farmers and Guysuco to work out a specific plan. We at the Central Government will help with some more equipment to clear the land and have somewhere to move the cattle."