Expect more improvement projects as economy advances-President tells Region 9 residents

Georgetown, GINA, November 1, 2013

One of the main things in having an improved quality of life for people is better housing, and having recognised this, the Administration has been creating the enabling environment to ensure that more and more Guyanese enjoy the comfort of their home and realise their dream, whether they live on the coast or in the hinterland.

 Today, the lives of several hinterland residents have been transformed, as the Ministry of Housing’s Second Low Income Settlement (LIS-2) programme is enabling them to live in new or improved homes.

President Donald Ramotar addressing the gathering at the commissioning ceremony of the GOG/IDB Second Low Income Settlement Programme at Kwatamang, Region Nine

President Donald Ramotar told several beneficiaries of Region Nine at a hand over ceremony of houses at Kwatamang, North Rupununi, that they can look forward to more life improving projects as the country’s economy progresses.

 

“Hopefully as our economy becomes bigger, and our capacity grows, and we can have greater amounts of revenues flowing into our treasury, we would be able to do much more to satisfy the basic needs of our people…this is a great beginning, and I am sure that it will expand from village to village till all our people have a better quality of life,” he said.

One of the Region Nine beneficiaries under the GOG/IDB Second Low Income Settlement Programme receives his key from Head of State Donald Ramotar

The Region Nine communities of Kwatamang, Central Annai, Massara, Katoka and Apoteri, received their keys at a simple ceremony, attended by President Ramotar, Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai.

 

Under this Hinterland Housing Pilot, which the Ministry of Housing and Water’s, Central Planning and Housing Authority is implementing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has provided financing to the tune of $200M to provide affordable sustainable houses in eight communities in Regions One and Nine. This will benefit a total of 208 houses, 122 full houses and another 86 will have their thatched roofs replaced with zinc sheets. 

One of the full houses in Region Nine constructed under the GOG/IDB Second Low Income Settlement Programme

In the Region One area the communities targeted are White Water, Manawarin and Oronoque. On Thursday, 23 households in White Water, Region One received keys to their new homes while 27 others benefited from having their roofs refurbished.

 

Today, of the 35 completed projects in Kwatamang, Region Nine, 23 are roof replacements and 12 new houses, a total investment of $17,454,580.  Approximately 30 residents benefitted from employment in the process.

President Donald Ramotar, Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai with the Region Nine beneficiaries of the GOG/IDB Second Low Income Settlement Programme

The other recipients are those who benefited from the $18,578,720 spent in Katoka to complete 10 roof replacements and 12 houses.

The projects at the remaining three communities are partially completed; hence not all of the approved beneficiaries for these villages were able to receive their keys today. At Massara, the project is 74 percent completed, that is, seven roof replacements and seven of 12 houses have been completed.  Central Annai is 38 percent completed – four roofs and two of 12 houses are completed.  At Apoteri, six of 12 roof replacements are completed, but only nine out of the 12 houses have begun construction. Apoteri is 27 percent completed. A total of $6,501,778 is being invested at Massara, $14,784,560 at Central Annai, and $19,849,840 at Apoteri.

The Head of State was pleased for the beneficiaries, having first hand knowledge of the joys of attaining home ownership in a hinterland community. “I came from an hinterland village Caria Caria, so I know the housing conditions are not always good and therefore, one of the main things in having an improved quality of life is having better housing for people, and for that I would like to congratulate all of you and particularly the ministry that has done, a lot of work in getting all of these done,” he said.

 

The President also noted the Government’s focus on education as a means of moving it people out of poverty and expressed pleasure that hinterland residents are grasping the opportunity to do so. “I have seen for myself, having the opportunity to travel to the parts of the hinterland, the transformation that is taking place, and that gives me immense joy in many ways to see our people grasp at education, grasping at opportunity and developing themselves,” he said.

President Donald Ramotar with Head teacher Charmaine David, and students of the Annai Secondary School

            He outlined some future initiatives for the hinterland that are being explored or soon will be implemented, such as the focus on tourism based activities.

The village councils have identified those vulnerable people in their community to benefit from the housing programme.

The house types being piloted in the regions were designed with assistance from the beneficiaries and their village councils. The Region One houses are one-storey timber building elevated seven feet from ground level with four rooms, a verandah, and front and back stairs, measuring 500square feet (ft) with zinc roofing, guttering, fitting and a 400- gallon water tank.

The Region Nine houses are one-storey as well, but built with flat burnt clay brick. They measure 20×25 ft, also have four rooms, zinc roof and a rainwater harvesting system including a 400- gallon water tank.

For the full houses, the project provided all the materials and 40 percent of the labour, whilst the beneficiaries contributed the rest of the labour.

For the roof replacement, the beneficiaries provided all the required labour, and the project, the material.

Minister Irfaan Ali described the events as a celebration of the beneficiaries’ work and for government as well, for delivering to its people benefits that they richly desire.

            “These are all investments that we are proud to make on your behalf, these are all investments we think that you so richly deserve…for us, we are all equal and we all deserve equal opportunity and equal treatment…in the government lays a partner that will ensure you are equally treated every single time,” he said.

            The Housing Minister commended the natural skills of the residents in constructing the houses and proposed utilising their labour to build low income houses on the coast.

“We want to work with you to take this skill to another level…maybe to take you to build some of the homes in housing schemes for the low income families so that we can build off of the learning experiences of this project…we did not want this project to just be the building of these homes, we wanted it to be an experience that would improve your livelihoods and skills and an experience which would give you an opportunity to move another level up in life,” he said.

Minister Sukhai noted that the housing programme embodies several critical concepts that are mirrored in the policy of the PPPC Government. It reflects the government’s promotion of housing support and shows that Government is focused and committed to partnering with the indigenous people for their development.

The Minister noted too, that the pilot project’s success says to Guyana’s partners, in this case the IDB, that Guyana can successfully implement projects.

Following the ceremony, Rupertee, Kwatamang and Katoka also uplifted their 2010-2011 presidential grants. Rupertee also received a sewing machine for its sewing group.

 

The President briefly visited the Annai Secondary School, where he underscored the merits of becoming educated and contributing to Guyana’s development.

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