EBD communities to benefit from infrastructural development
–Grove/ Diamond NDC to be audited
Several communities being managed by the Grove/ Diamond Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) will soon undergo significant transformation, to improve the lives of residents there.
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, MP, made the disclosure Friday evening during a meeting with the NDC.
He said the Government has plans to invest heavily in the infrastructure on the East Bank of Demerara, which he hopes can be done through a collaborative effort between central and local government.
Issues such as lack of leadership, constant absence of staff, limited interaction with residents and the slow implementation of the NDC’s 2021 work programme were highlighted.
Minister Dharamlall expressed his disappointment with the NDC’s management of the nine constituencies it oversees. The Minister pointed out that the NDC has about $63 million in its bank account and yet, there is no evidence of physical transformation.
“Grove/ Diamond is one of the progressive areas in our country, progressive in terms of the development paths that are currently being pursued…this is the only NDC that seems to be making a profit and that means that you have savings in the tens of millions… And so we would like to see the resources of the NDC being invested for the benefit of the people in the communities.”
The Minister urged the NDC to establish a work programme. He said the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) can provide assistance in this regard. Minister Dharamlall said while the RDC will be unable to execute any major road projects within the NDC area, they can conduct minor road works.
Minister Dharamlall also committed to the employment of eight more persons as Community Enhancement Workers (CEWs), the procurement of two brush cutters, solar streetlights, among others. An audit will also be conducted into the operation of the local organ.
“We cannot allow people of these communities to be casualties of a conflict between the overseer and the council. I am not here to protect anyone, but the residents and this is the way we are working across the country. NDCs are part of the Government and the Government, in this case, cannot be an obstacle to progress and development because of people’s attitude.”
Moving forward, the Ministry will be monitoring and examining the works being executed by the NDC.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, MP, shared similar views. He said the lack of communication, cooperation and competency has not only caused a division among the councillors, but delayed much-need developmental works. This, he believes can be rectified through training.
“The mood in this country has changed ever since August 2020, and therefore we have to adapt and go with the new dispensation that has been created in this country, and we can’t have councillors, we can’t have servants of the people, inclusive of the staff, behaving in this way and who don’t seem to have a clear understanding as to what is their role and how they could be going about things, and it is, absolutely shocking,” Minister McCoy said.
The Minister told the councillors that the Government is committed to improving the quality of life of its people and as such, he expects that the service provided by the NDC to be nothing but the best.