Batavia using $10M investment funds to better residents’ lives

Over 500 residents of Batavia village, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) would soon benefit from the construction of a $1.5 million wooden pedestrian bridge over the Kaiparu Creek.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-March.

Speaking with DPI, Toshao of Batavia, Mr. Orin Williams said he is grateful for this intervention since it is one which the previous and current village council had requested over the years.

This dream, he said, would now become a reality as the community would source the finances for the bridge from its $10 million grant for development, which was provided to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. The grant was provided through the Government’s one-off $1.73 billion COVID-19 investment fund for Amerindian communities.

To this end, residents were employed to construct the bridge.

“This bridge will make the lives of the residents much more comfortable since they had to use sawn tree trunks or ‘tacoobas’ to traverse daily. I believe that when this is completed, it will serve as a step closer to development for the community outlined by the PPP/C Government,” Mr. Williams said.

This is one of many initiatives the Council intends to undertake to revive the village’s economy. Mr. Williams said this project is the beginning of the Council’s goal to create job opportunities for its residents.

“Based on the discussions with residents, we are looking for the right location to establish a meeting place, investment in the agriculture sector which will see to the purchase of chainsaw and mill for cassava as well as the construction of a sanitary block for the village’s recreational ground,” he said.

The village also hopes to invest in the forestry sector to improve how they conduct logging.

In January, the Government started to disburse sums from its COVID-19 investment fund to help Amerindian village economies by helping them to create opportunities, to start income-generating and infrastructural development projects in the hinterland.

A section of the bridge under construction

To date communities across the regions have received the following sums: Region One ($542 million), Region Two ($105 million), Region Three ($23 million), Region Four ($47 million), Region Five ($15 million) Region Six ($30 million), Region Seven ($216 million), Region Eight ($208 million), Region Nine ($454 million) and Region Ten ($92 million).

This fund complements the Government’s $4.5 billion COVID-19 relief cash grant, which started in the latter half of 2020 to provide every household with $25,000. Additionally, $1.8 billion was allocated from the 2020 Emergency Budget to provide hampers to households.