Hinterland Residents to be awarded airstrips contracts

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hinterland residents are set to benefit from employment with the opportunity for economic and social benefits and participation in the rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman made this disclosure today at a post Cabinet briefing at the Ministry of Presidency.

The Minister stated that Cabinet has agreed to have the contracts for the weeding, clearing and rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips with a monetary value of less than $2.5M be awarded to residents within the proximity of the village council districts where the airstrips are located.

Rehabilitated Annai Airstrip

Minister Trotman explained that the process of hinterland residents being awarded these contracts involve the respected village councils having supervisory responsibility in awarding and overseeing these contracts, as well as the safety and protection of the airstrips.

This new partnership between the government, village councils and residents will be facilitated by the Procurement Act under Section 29 and “is in partial fulfilment of the APNU+AFC manifesto promise to eliminate social and economic disparity in Guyana.”

According to Minister Trotman this initiative will also lead to the development of the hinterland and to better oversight of the airstrips in the hinterland.

In 2016 $56.6 million was budgeted for the upkeep of the 47 airstrips under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Aerodromes Department’s control. The airstrips which saw repairs and maintenance works were: Port Kaituma ($1.45M); Mabaruma  ($1.43M); Imbaimadai ($1.95M); Kaieteur ($1.73M); Aishalton ($4.72M); Anna Regina ($1.19M; Lethem ($1.65M); Paramakatoi ($1.13M); Kamarang ($1.91M); Ekereku Bottom ($1.7M); Bartica ($1.17M); Mahdia ($1.86M) and Annai ($3.9M).

This year in the 2017 National budget some $170 million was allocated for rehabilitation works on airstrips including the Baramita, Region One -$80M, Ekereku Bottom, Region Seven-$40M, and Chi Chi (West) Region Seven –$50M.

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan during his 2017 budget speech said that the government aims to improve the lives of Guyanese, especially those in the hinterland who have been long neglected.

By Ranetta LaFleur

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