Government Outreach should be a regular feature – says those in attendance

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The ‘Government Comes to You’ outreach will be recorded as one of those that received an overwhelming response by citizens as they flocked the tents hoping to have their concerns aired to the various government ministries.

Early this morning hundreds of persons gathered at the square of the revolution, and the afternoon saw many more pouring in. Those who have assessed the initiative by the government praised it and said it should be a regular feature of as it conveniently reaches out to the public.

Verbena Grant, a resident of West Ruimveldt said she was satisfied with the layout of the services and hopes the efficiency is replicated in the institutions head offices.“I believe it is something wonderful they did here today; that everybody could come out and see a doctor and get to know what they want to know,”

Deo Persaud of Mahaica added that it should be something the government also takes to Berbice and Essequibo. “I think looking at the turnout here that there is a lot of work to be done and they should be holding this every four months… Next, move it to the Corentyne, then to Essequibo and get the people’s needs looked after,” Persaud explained.

At the time of this report, most persons visiting agencies’ and ministries’ booths were just coming in and seeking assistance. Patrina Johnson, a small business owner spoke directly with the Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and was later referred to the relevant agency to obtain further assistance.

Even the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka dropped by and found it to be a smart move by the government to meet the public in this manner. “I came to see what’s going on I think it’s a fantastic idea for the government services to reach out to the citizens and have an opportunity to hear what the citizens want and also to provide some service.”

Giving an overview of their interactions with the public Ministers Dr. Karen Cummings, Dominic Gaskin and Khemraj Ramjattan said they view this exercise as a successful one and reminded that they also individually host public days.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said the technical team from the ministry were able to address matters on the spot and look into others.

“We are very happy today to address the general and public health concerns and it varied from personnel matters, persons applying for jobs, persons looking at their drains and they needed some fogging and cleaning of the drains, persons wanted to know about the HPV vaccine and persons wanted to know they have been on dialysis and they have had so many cycles and what’s the next step so we were able to bring them up to speed.”

Minister Cummings added that “most of the ministers have their public days, for me, it’s every Wednesday, and of course I also go out in the fields. For the entire month of April, I have already planned to go to Regions Five, Six and Three.”

Minister Gaskin added that he met with several persons also. “I personally have been dealing with a number of persons and I was happy to have been able to point them in the right direction in terms of our ministry’s departments and agencies and also a lot of them had problems that really resided in other agencies and I would have able to have an idea of what the problem was and point them in the right direction so it is a very useful event.”

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan noted that most of the concerns brought to his ministry through this outreach can be addressed via continuous education and public awareness. This, he said, will clarify misconceptions had by most Guyanese.

“I noticed quite a lot of people talking about noise nuisance, they are talking about their families being in jail for a long time and they would like them to be paroled earlier. Quite a number of people who would wish firearm licenses and they want to know the procedure and all of that.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, Managing Director of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) said most of the issues brought to his attention were related to billing and metering services. He stated, however, those were clarified with persons in an effort to move forward smoothly with the process.

He also said, “not many complaints in terms of the operations there are one and two issues in terms of the time taken for reconnection for some people who may have been disconnected and I agree with them. I have spoken to the managers that we need to respond quickly within approximately 48 hours, no later than 48 hours or try to do it as quickly as possible because people pay for their reconnection.”

There are plans to take the host similar outreaches on a regular basis across the country.

Delicia Haynes.

Images: Giovanni Gajie.

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