Agri programme, roads, electricity upgrades for Matthew’s Ridge
– President Ali
Residents of Matthew’s Ridge, Region One (Barima-Waini) can expect major developments in their community with the upgrading of 3.8 kilometres of roads and the extension of electricity to the Minab area.
His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, during a Cabinet outreach to the community on Tuesday, said the roads at Station Street, School Street, Heaven Hill and Hell Hill will benefit from much-needed upgrades.
“Before the end of this month the works on these streets must commence,” he told the residents.
President Ali has tasked the Local Government, Public Works, and Housing and Water ministries with engaging the local contractors and residents to execute the works on the road as part of providing employment and generating income for the communities.
On the issue of the road from Matthew’s Ridge to Port Kaituma and other internal roads, the president expressed disappointment in the way in which the Guyana Manganese Inc. (GMI) has been maintaining those thoroughfares.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat had engaged the company after residents complained about its failure to conduct regular maintenance on the roads.
The president noted that while there have been marginal improvements since the engagement, there continues to be an abuse of the infrastructure within the community.
Therefore, the head of state said, “The trucks not only driving on the internal roads in the community but [they are] driving on the airstrip now… I would not accept the company not fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities.
“I am making it very clear that the investors need to step up their game and fulfil their responsibility to this community.”
Meanwhile, President Ali reiterated that while his government welcomes investments, investors must stay true to their social responsibilities for the communities they are operating in.
He said Minister Bharrat and his team will be meeting with the management of the manganese company shortly to have ‘frank discussions.’
“We must have a target set and timeframe… and that timeframe must be monitored stringently,” President Ali said.
In terms of electricity, some $27 million in equipment was procured to extend the electricity supply to Minab, a small settlement located in Matthew’s Ridge.
The materials are in the region awaiting the technical personnel to carry out the work.
“We will work out the cost, we will pay for the labour from the community and we will take the electricity to Minab,” he said.
Additionally, the head of state said the government will work with the community to identify 25 acres of land to create an agriculture programme targeting single mothers and young people.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha will be visiting the area before the end of the year to engage the residents on the initiative.
Additionally, he said that $10 million is earmarked for upgrades to the community’s recreational facility.
Sports gear and equipment will also be provided to encourage sports among youths, while training opportunities will be provided to ensure the young people are gainfully employed.
Further, to boost security in the area, the Matthew’s Ridge police station will benefit from an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and pickup, while the pathway to the station will be upgraded.
President Ali and several ministers of government are on a two-day visit to Region One.