Corentyne residents complain about NDCs performance during Ministerial outreach

GINA, GUYANA, Monday, March 20, 2017

An all-female ministerial team visited communities along East Berbice-Corentyne, Region Six on Sunday, to meet and hear concerns of residents.

Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally led the team which comprised Ministers within the Ministries of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings and Education, Nicolette Henry.

Minister Simona Broomes interacting with residents of Scottsburg, Corentyne

The event came after residents’ concerns were raised by Member of Parliament Charandass Persaud to Minister Ally. Minister Ally visited residents in Crabwood Creek, Minister Broomes visited Scottsburg, Minister Karen Cummings was in Little Africa and Minister Nicolette Henry visited Dukestown.

The outreach culminated with the Ministers meeting residents of Liverpool village. The residents’ complaints were primarily about the mismanagement of the community by the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).

One resident, Troy Fraser, told the Ministers, “Since the local government election there is nothing done, not even a public meeting keeping for the community to go out and voice their opinion.”

Clefrin Williams told the Ministers that garbage disposal is a major concern of the community. “I have been reliably informed that there is a tractor and trailer at the village council office there. What about our rubbish? This whole place is full of rubbish,” Williams said.

Taisa Scott

The residents were very vocal in their dissatisfaction over the leadership of the NDC. “If I had known I was entering into a situation to work under that captain (chairman) I would have never gone there,” Mitchell McBean, Councillor of the Lancaster/Hogstye NDC, which is responsible for the community, complained to the Ministers.

Minister Ally assured the residents that their complaints will be investigated. However she reminded the residents that they were the ones who elected the persons comprising the NDC, and charged them to hold their councillors responsible. “We are going to have to put the right people in there because we from Georgetown can’t come to vote for Lancaster NDC, it is the people who live there,” Minister Ally told residents.

There were also calls by the residents for the improvement of their community’s centre ground, and resuscitation of the library and roads. Minister Ally in addressing these requests reminded the residents that Liverpool is among many other communities that the government is working to address residents’ concerns.

From left to right: Member of Parliament Charandass Persaud, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr Karen Cummings, Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes and Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry

“While we want to do so many things, we can’t do everything, and we are not neglecting here. We can’t get everything one time. We are going to take our time, and we are going to spread it out,” Minister Ally told residents.

Meanwhile, the complaints of the NDC performance were similar in Scottsburg where Minister Broomes met with a small group at the village’s community centre ground.

Head of the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) Taisa Stoll complained to Minister Broomes of inadequate garbage collection by the NDC, forcing the nursery school to pay for garbage disposal.

Lighting and poor roads were also issues raised. Joy Phillips told the Minister that the NDC is telling residents they have to pay for the street lights while one resident, identified as Carl, called for better roads in the community.

Minister Broomes explained to the residents that with the reintroduction of local government elections, residents now have the power to replace representatives in NDCs that are not working in the community’s interest. “This is your community. You have to keep it very local, you got to vote for who you believe could get the job done,” Minister Broomes told residents.

Aside from hearing the concerns of residents, the Ministers also shared the government’s achievements over the last two years and upcoming projects aimed at improved the lives of all Guyanese. Several more outreaches are planned in other communities.

March 19, 2017 marked one year since Local Government Elections were held in over 20 years.

By: Tiffny Rhodius