Gov’t exploring procurement of barge, tugboat for Kwakwani – President Ali

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has announced the government’s intention to explore the procurement of a barge and tugboat to improve transportation services in Kwakwani, Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region 10).

The president made this announcement during a community engagement in the area on Saturday.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

He was joined by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, and Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai.

“I am going to ask Bishop Edghill and Dr. Singh to bring MARAD [Maritime Administration Department] into play to see how we could procure a barge and tug that can efficiently help with the transportation system here,” the president said.

He emphasised the necessity of establishing proper management protocols for the initiative to be successful, noting, “We have to find a formula that is viable, one that includes the community, the private sector and the NDC, one that is holistic, examining the management structure.”

During the announcement, the prospect of a bridge spanning the Kwakwani River was raised by the residents.

Addressing the eager residents, President Ali assured, “That too shall come.”

He highlighted several ongoing projects such as the 45 bridges along the trail to Lethem, the new Wismar Bridge which is set to commence shortly and the new Demerara River Bridge.

President Ali stated that while the new Demerara River Bridge is in the construction phase, the government is actively considering the future of the existing Demerara Harbour Bridge.

“I don’t want to be premature in our analysis…we are examining the possibilities of the old bridge…we have a technical team that is looking right here at this (Kwakwani) river, a team that is looking at bridging Leguan and Wakenaam, a team that is looking at linking agriculture corridor among some of the islands in the Essequibo River,” the president said.

Meanwhile, he announced the construction of a deep water well to address the water issues in the area. That project will be included in the 2024 National Budget.

Further, in response to the prevailing electricity problems, the president revealed the deployment of a technical team to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the local distribution system.

The objective is to identify and rectify issues promptly, ensuring optimal power usage and preventing distribution disruptions caused by flaws in the transmission and distribution network.

The residents also had the opportunity to raise other issues and concerns affecting them.