Corriverton on the move!
– To establish 24-hour market
– Drains and roads being upgraded
– Fully, computerised billing system in place
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Corriverton is in major upgrade mode with a 24-hour market to be established and improved infrastructure already in place.
Under the stewardship of Mayor Krishnand Jaichand and his council, the town of 12,000 residents was able to achieve several notable developments in the past year.
The town is known for its trade of economical home appliances, clothing and household items as well as fresh local organic produce from the Indigenous communities of Orealla and Sipiruta. The Skeldon Market is held daily where buyers are guaranteed to find fresh fish, meat, vegetables and even unique pieces of jewellery. Such is the traffic that unlike other markets in the county that usually close at noon, the Skeldon market goes well into mid-afternoon then it starts to wind down.
24 Hour Market
Heeding the government’s call for diversification and thinking outside of the box, the Mayor and Town Council through the Ministry of Local Communities have secured a plot of land obliquely opposite the Skeldon Hospital for a 24-hour market.
Jaichand explained to the Department of Public Information (DPI) the facility in its first phase will see the construction of twenty-four uniform 10 x 10 ft stalls, each one specialising in a particular item.
“We recognise that we need to have new avenues of jobs in creating revenue and that is why we are looking at this aspect and at the said time it will provide for our people to have access to basic things at any hour of the night.”
He continued that the process for selecting the candidates was very transparent and due process was done to ensure no two stalls were selling the same items to create competition and at the same time provide a wide cross-section of various products and services.
The market when completed will be the first of its kind in Berbice. It is a highly anticipated project since it is expected to set the pace for other municipalities to follow suit.
Each stall will have a stylish bungalow roof, be equipped with electricity and water and cater to an open area where people can sell greens.
The first stall is completed and already occupied by Maylene Austin, 38, who trades in mainly grocery and snacks. She conveyed to the DPI that the stall belongs to her brother but she is employed to manage it.
“It is clean and nice here, business is good no complaints and it will start to pick up more when them other stands finished and more people start for sell,” she said with a smile.
Additionally, work was also done to enhance the existing Skeldon Market to make the environment more comfortable. The township in pushing its green initiative has replaced the zinc sheets on the roof with transparent ones thereby reducing the dependency on electricity to provide adequate lighting inside the market. This gesture though simple has far-reaching benefits to the vendors who can now enjoy higher profit margins by reducing their electricity bills and that might have the trickle-down effect of reducing prices to consumers.
No town is ever considered as moving forward unless there are infrastructural changes constantly taking place. As such several roads were asphalted through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
Most notable among these are the main access to Dukeston and Princeton as well as the Line Path Playground Streets. These streets were recently paved and have speed bumps, signs and road markings.
A further 30 streets underwent minor repairs and maintenance from the budget allocations for the town.
Another major project being undertaken is the construction of concrete drains in the vicinity of Number 78 village. The drains, apart from providing better drainage, will serve as reservoirs in the event of a fire.
Jaichand explained that as recently as last December the entire central Corriverton area would have been reduced to rubble due to the unavailability of water and fire hydrants but was saved by unusually low wind conditions and quick thinking by residents who broke several embankments and drains to let water into a makeshift reservoir. He further revealed that due to the existing Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) distribution network in the town, fire hydrants cannot be facilitated at this time.
As a temporary fix, GWI and the council have agreed to install a 4” pipe that will be opened in the event of a fire to flood the drains so that the fire service can have access to water.
While noting the concrete drains are a costly venture, it is the intention of the council to move from earthen drains to concrete all across the municipality in the long term.
Modernising Rate Collections
Barring central government and the regional administration’s input, no town can be developed unless it has an effective rates and taxes collection system to finance its projects. With the forward-thinking mind of Jaichand, a businessman at the helm, the municipality was able to overhaul a system it inherited that was unchanged for the past 48 years.
For the first time in the history of the town, computerized printed receipts are being issued and entries are being electronically logged for the collection of rates and taxes. Further, the entire office was refurbished in keeping with the 21st century.
Even with the recent strides made by the Mayor and Town Council, there is still a lot more to be done and the council is not without its challenges especially in the disposal of waste.
Jaichand is calling on the residents to practice proper solid waste disposal as often times the drainage systems are clogged and this lead to flooding. Ideally, they should be looking at increased rates and taxes to help offset the cost of cleaning up but given the fragile nature of the local economy which will now receive a boost since the Skeldon Factory is presently operational, they decided against it and are asking residents to be cognizant of the efforts being made and help do their part as well.
Story and Images: Nafeeza Sakur