East Bank Berbice Road construction commences today-Residents to benefit from small contracts, employment
GUYANA, GINA, Monday, June 5, 2016
Residents on the East Bank of Berbice will now benefit from a newly constructed main access road. The road which runs from Stanleytown to Mara is funded by the Government of Guyana at an estimated cost of $1.2B and will be done in phases.
The announcement was made by Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson during a meeting with residents at the Overwinning Market Square on Sunday. The first phase will see 4.7kilometres of road being constructed from Stanleytown to Everton and is expected to be completed in eight months.
The controversial road which is deplorable in the dry weather is impassable in the rainy season, is one the residents has been requesting for over 40 years and had been the cause of numerous protests over the years. However, Minister Patterson addressing the gathering said that, “Our records show that since 2009 there have been protest action for the condition of this road” adding that “enough is enough, we have to put this project on the front burner”.
Minister Patterson said that the importance of the road cannot be over stressed because it not only affects the ordinary citizens but also those in the agricultural sector. “The overall objective of this project is to provide a solution to the current difficulties of using the roadways due to the deteriorating state,” the Minister explained.
The Minister pointed out to the residents the opportunities the construction of the road will provide. He assured residents that they will benefit from employment and will be given small contracts to execute.
“With road works comes opportunities and it would be disrespectful, unfair to you in this area if we come here, do not let you know what opportunities are there for you, if we bring everything from out of the region, I said to my team, we are only facilitators, this project should be a project from the East Bank of Berbice” The Minister explained.
The road once completed will consist of pavements, concrete drains, speed bumps, bridges, box culverts and street lights and is expected to have a lifespan of 30 years.
During the meeting, residents raised concerns about the quality of road that will be built. The concerns of the residents were one which the Minister immediately took into consideration and suggested that an oversight committee be established.
The Minister suggested that one person from each of the village be on the committee in addition of someone from the Mayor’s office and
Regional Democratic Council. They were given two weeks to select the five persons. “Come back, give me the names, we will appoint them, we will give you all the documents and all the support that you need” Minister Patterson told the residents.
The Department of Public Information/Government Information Agency (DPI/GINA) spoke to a few residents who were all elated with the announcement made by the Minister.
Andrew France of New Amsterdam said that “this year is 49 years since we have been waiting on this road from government to government and we are grateful to see this government come in such a short time and live up to their promise and it is shocking to know that this road works will be commencing”.
Sharon Trim a resident of Edinburgh said that she is “eternally grateful” for the road being constructed which she describes as an “abortion ally”. Trim expressed delight explaining that “I am grateful the ministers saw how we were suffering and punishing and see it fit not only to promise but to fulfill their promise so that the people on the East Bank (Berbice) can and will have the new road that we deserve”.
Ramesh Maraj of Gay Park explained that, “we were here lobbing for this road for the past 40 years, I could recall we used bauxite capping to cover a road… now that we have the Minister’s commitment and they want to start, I am happy because the people have suffered tremendously”.
Present at the meeting was Vice President and Minster of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan who apologised for the delayed action of delivering on the construction of the road. Minister Ramjattan explained that, “The Ministers in government have been doing their best so that the monies can be allocated for this project. Why it didn’t happen earlier, understand the difficulties we do have,” adding that, “we said that we are going to deliver and we are going to deliver now”.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite