‘Collaborate, cooperate rather than confront’

─ Min. Bulkan condemns approach of Opposition NDC Councillors

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, November 10, 2019

“When it comes to the management of the communities, we need to take politics out of the equation because it will interfere with the objectives of improving the conditions within these communities.”

Minister of Communities, Hon. Ronald Bulkan made these comments which were prompted by an opposition-inspired boycott of a community engagement at DeHoop, Mahaicony.

The minister travelled to the community as part of a wider initiative taken by the government, for ministers to fan-out to various communities on Friday, November 8, to once again meet with its citizenry.

During the meet, a resident present raised several issues affecting the community of De Hoop and its environs. The gathering was then reminded, by Minister Bulkan, that the government had spent billions of dollars on two Local Government Elections (LGE) so that citizens could be empowered to manage the problems in their respective communities. There are elected representatives for every area, he stressed, adding that these areas are sub-divided into smaller areas which are called constituencies. Each constituency elects an individual, at LGE, who becomes the representative at the level of the NDC, he explained.

“Government is ensuring that the constitutional framework for local government is being honoured. These Councillors are supposed to make representations on your behalf, and it is now sadly clear to me that they have not been doing so.”

It is very unfortunate, he noted, that it had to take a visit by himself, from the central government, to be made aware of these problems. The minister explained that the Coalition Government hopes that the decentralised system of governance would become more accepted and that people will realise that cooperation and collaboration would bear more fruit than confrontation.

Among the problems raised at the meeting was the operations of a rice mill within the area. It was explained that the mill periodically burns rice hulls causing air pollution coupled with wind-borne ash. The issue has led to several cases of allergies and illnesses among the residents. It was highlighted that a signature campaign has commenced to show the residents’ displeasure with the situation and also to press for urgent action to be taken.

The meeting also heard the requests for a health centre to be established in the area, a playground for the students of the De Hoop Primary School, and the need for speed bumps in the vicinity of the school.

In response, Minister Bulkan assured that the ministry will work with the Woodlands/Farm NDC and the relevant central Government agencies to arrive at a speedy resolution to the matters raised.

The meeting also saw the attendance of the Woodlands/Farm NDC Chairman Wainwright Henry, AFC Councillor Trevon Chichester, Deputy-Regional Executive Officer, Sherwyn Wellington and Samuel Parris of the ministry.