$300M re-invested to benefit Region Two

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, March 10, 2018

A saving of almost $300M by the Pomeroon/Supenaam (Region Two) administration has been reinvested into realising a number of transformational projects across the region, to the benefit of residents.

According to Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson, the savings were made possible through prudent resource management and vigilance by the Regional Administration in 2017.

The projects realised from the ground-breaking achievement are a new boat landing for students and teachers at the Liberty Nursery and Primary School, a bus shed at Dartmouth, a fence at Unity Park, a seating area at Cottonfield and renovation and extension at the Anna Regina Health Centre.

Currently, there are 46 pupils attending the Liberty Primary School, some 18 miles down the Pomeroon River. Headteacher Pansy Garraway-Allen said the new school’s landing was extremely necessary.

“Previously the situation was very bad. It was almost a threat to any person who would have used the landing. The lower part of the stelling, some parts were rotted, a few threaders from the step were missing because the foundation was no more. … At times we had to choose spots to step on to avoid going underground in any serious state. It was also not good enough for the students. Many times, we had to tutor the children, guiding them where to walk and avoid any sort of running on it,” Garraway-Allen explained.

The newly extended landing is a boon, for the female staff, the Headteacher continued, since “before during the spring tide in the mornings, the tide would be rather low causing some trouble to us. The flats were very far out and the boats in which we travel to school are large and when we get to school, we would normally have to stick our skirts in the tights and pull boat ropes to get up to the stelling which was very strenuous to us as females.” According to Garraway-Allen, the students were also forced to step from one boat to another to reach the landing.

The REO said the decision to do the work was influenced mainly by the pleas of the Headteacher and the threat which the dilapidated facility posed to students and teachers alike. “Because of the danger and imminent threat to life and limb we decided that we must have this thing done. The beautiful thing is that we had savings. I am elated to know that we were able to rescue the situation at Liberty. It is a good job done not only for Liberty but for the Region as well,” Hopkinson explained.

At Darthmouth the bus shed was constructed to replace a previously dis-functional one and provide shelter to residents awaiting public transportation.

Andella Duncan, a longtime resident remarked, “We had one but it used to flood when rain falls.”

Anna, another resident and a food vendor who operates a stone’s throw away from the bus shed said, “the bus shed was very old and the top was rotten. The boards were falling off. It had concrete, but the concrete was burst up. It was very bad. If rain fall and you are out here you would get wet. Nobody could have sheltered in the bus shed,”

Both Anna and Andella expressed satisfaction with the newly built facility.

“It is very helpful because now you can go in and sit down. Right now, the sun is very hot so if you come out on the road to catch transport you could go in now and sit down until your transport come. You not getting wet or sun not burning you. It very useful right now,” Anna said.

Hopkinson said the previous bus shed was constructed more than 25 years ago and fell into disrepair several years ago. He also said it was the only bus shed in the community.

“The old bus shed apart from being in a very bad shape, used to flood. It remained a place where people could not have come and shelter from the vagaries of the weather. We have responded to complaints and had the bus shed built.”

Regarding the extension to the Anna Regina Health Centre, Medex Anna Hubbard who has been at the facility for almost five years said the cramped conditions under which they were required to work were unbearable and the improvements which will benefit both patients and staff alike are long overdue.

“Our catchment area is from Lima to Three Friends. It is heavily populated and our centre being small definitely cannot accommodate some of the patients who come to clinic especially on Fridays. This is something we have been longing for because we are also extending services not only to the residents of Three Friends to Lima but also from Pomeroon as far as Supenaam,” she explained.

Like Medex Hubbard, Dr. Fitzpatrick said the population size for the health centre meant that the patients were made to wait long hours to be attended to because of the inadequate facilities. They both agreed that the completed facility will bring much relief.

“The working conditions will be better which in turn will make the work go smoother and patients will be able to see the doctor faster and be able to get treatment in a timelier manner and don’t have to go all the way to the hospital. It would save time and money,” Doctor Fitzpatrick added.

REO Hopkinson said while all the projects undertaken are a boost to development in the region, the works at Anna Regina Health Centre were highly recommended by the Regional Health Officer.

“This project in particular which received heavy recommendation from the RHO will be a very useful addition to our health facilities and delivery in the region. This particular centre serves the largest catchment area in the region. In fact, we have not only done an addition to the facility but we have actually took out the guts of the centre and we are replacing all of that so this would be a beautiful facility when done. We wanted to make sure that whatever we do here will be done properly,” Hopkinson explained.

The Seating area constructed at Cotton Field is intended as a safe space for students and other stakeholders who operate in the area on a daily basis. The area utilised previously represented an unused canal which posed a threat to the safety of children and adults alike. It sits in the heart of the Region’s academic community, surrounded by the Anna Regina Multilateral School, the Regional Education Department, the Guyana School of Agriculture and the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education among others.

Hopkinson explained the decision was taken to “make this into a gated area”. The REO said funds for the first phase of the project were taken from the $250M, so no additional allocation was required to be budgeted for the project. He opined that once complete it will of tremendous benefit to the “student and general academic community.”

The REO insisted that the decisions made to reinvest the savings accumulated were not unilaterally made.

“No unilateral decision. For example, the decision to do the landing at Liberty was first of all pushed by the Regional Education Officer. The decision to do the Health Centre at Ann Regina was pushed by the Regional Health Officer who said we have some, savings this is what we want done.  So, projects were generally executed as a consequence of the justifications of the heads of programmes.” The REO explained.

By: Kidackie Amsterdam

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