Agri Ministry to commence D&I works in Annandale
– Minister assures distribution of $150,000 grant will commence soon
– says current list being verified to ensure accuracy
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Thursday (September 1, 2022) visited the community of Annandale on the East Coast of Demerara to meet with residents and fishermen to discuss some of the issues affecting them.
During their engagement, many residents raised issues with the current state of the roads in the community, the need for street lights, and improved drainage and irrigation among other things. Some of the residents said that they were squatting and applied for house lots some time ago and are still awaiting word from the Ministry of Housing.
In relation to the drainage issues in the community, the residents said that there was a trench that needed to be cleaned. They also said that their homes and the schools in the community are usually flooded when it rains because the internal drains in the community needed cleaning.
Minister Mustapha told the residents that although the government was coming to an end of its 2022 budget cycle, efforts would be made by the ministry’s National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to have some of the needed drainage works completed soon.
“A machine will be sent to the area in the new week to start the works and a team from the NDIA, the GLDA, and NAREI will come back to meet with you to see how we can advance agriculture in the community. We have to do an assessment of the community to see how best we can get the drainage works done. Many of the drains in the community are very narrow so it would be difficult for the machines to do the work but we will work with you,” Minister Mustapha assured residents.
He also said that he would engage the Ministers of Housing and Water as well as the Ministers of Public Works to visit the area and meet with them.
Minister Mustapha told the fishermen present that the Fisheries Department was working assiduously to have the verification process completed soon. While responding to the delay in the distribution of the grant, Minister Mustapha indicated that unlike the Ministry of Education, the Agriculture Ministry does not have a register of farmers and fishermen.
“We do not have a list of all of the fishermen in Guyana. Many fishermen are not licensed. We wanted to give assistance to you because we know there was a period when you were having low catches. When we announced that we would give the grant, many persons who are not fishermen started saying they were fishermen. We had a list and when we commenced the verification process, we received many reports that some of the names on the list were not fishermen. We are still trying to have a list that captures all of the legitimate fishermen because we do not want a repeat of what happened with the flood relief,” the minister explained.
He assured the fishermen that once all goes well with this round of verification, distribution of the grant could commence within the next two weeks.