Baramita residents get to raise concerns with Vice President Allicock

GUYANA, GINA, Monday, April 3, 2017

The Residents of Baramita, Region One got the opportunity to raise their concerns with Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and a team last weekend.

The team included the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alfred King, Regional Executive Officer of Region One, Leslie Wilburg, Regional Vice-Chairman of Region One, Sarah Browne and Deidre Ifill from the Ministry of Social Protection.

(from left to right) Representative from the Ministry of Social Protection Deidre Ifill, Regional Vice-Chairman Region One Sarah Browne, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Allicock, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Alfred King, and Regional Executive Region One Leslie Wilburg.

Among the issues raised were education, health, high level of alcohol consumption, the non-issuance of birth certificates and councillors not working. The village has a population of over 3000.

Osmond Joseph, a resident of Baramita told the delegation that the primary school is too small and its location next to the airstrip is not conducive for learning. He said students’ attention would be broken every time an aircraft comes in and they would not go back to their lessons until after the aircraft departs.

Vice-Chairman of Region One, Sarah Browne, said that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) will soon be addressing the matter. Brown noted that the RDC received monies in the 2017 National Budget for the expansion of the school.

“In our 2017 approved budget by parliament, we would have gotten the extension of Baramita primary school as well as the construction of the nursery school that you would have asked for,” Browne pointed out. In addition, there will also be the construction of a nursery school and teachers’ quarters, she said.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority had urged residents to find a suitable space where the nursery school can be relocated.

Resident of Baramita Osmond Joseph raising an issue during the meeting last weekend

This was enforced by Minister Allicock who said that the  residents need to identify a large space away from the airstrip that would not only hold the school but several other services.

“I am asking the council and the people that live here to identify a spot that could accommodate the new development of a school, health centre… so we have space, we have the opportunity to have a proper process of a housing scheme starting with the school and the health centre,” Allicock said.

Additionally, residents complained that the village councillors were not working to serve the community. Donna Austin, a resident, said “I think that the councillors need to work a bit more closely with us. The cooperation is there but not even 50 per cent because sometimes we have problems and just like one or two persons would try to assist.”

Residents of Baramita Region One during the meeting last weekend

Minister Allicock called upon village councilors to play a more integral role in the community.

Residents also complained that many of their children do not have birth certificates and asked that there be at least a post office in the community. They noted that it is costly to be travelling back and forth from Georgetown just to have the (birth certificate) issue handled.

“The post office … is under consideration because we are aware that you need to be connected and there is a drive to connect the hinterland to the coast. I am hoping that next week, that team will be in here to work with you to get that part of the business in place,” Allicock said.

Other issues such as teenage pregnancy, binge drinking by both youth and adults and the call for more trained teachers were also raised. Minister Allicock assured residents that their complaints will not fall on a deaf ear. “Along with the P.S, we are taking notes and would be taking your message(s) back to the various ministries so that they could be able to take the necessary actions,” Allicock said.


By: Isaiah Braithwaite