Homeless to begin occupying Hugo Chavez Rehabilitation Centre by month-end – President pays respects to Chavez, Venezuela as centre is commissioned
Georgetown, GINA, August 10, 2013
With all systems in place, the newly commissioned Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration at Onverwagt West Coast Berbice is likely to begin taking in occupants by month-end.
Following the ceremonial opening today with President Donald Ramotar and Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Margarita Arratia Dias unveiling the dedication plaque, the way has been cleared for the facility to begin accepting the 100 males and 80 females that it was built to accommodate.
President Donald Ramotar and Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Margarita Arratia Dias unveiling the dedication plaque at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration at Onverwagt in the presence of Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster
A careful selection process is at present being undertaken that will involve a close examination of the mental state of the occupants that are to be housed at the facility, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Patrick Findlay, explained in a comment to the Government Information Agency (GINA).
During President Ramotar’s tour of the facility, he was briefed by Technical Consultant Walter Willis about the security surveillance and several other features on the building.
The Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration constructed with US$2M funding from Venezuela comes with recreational, medical, kitchen, conference room, training and dining facilities.
A section of the land space is dedicated to meaningful occupation of residents in agriculture practices.
“The centre will endeavour to transform the lives of its occupants so as to enable them to become disciplined and productive members of our society,” Minister of Human Services and Social Security Jennifer Webster said in her remarks at the opening.
Construction of the facility started in January 2010 and was billed for commissioning in May during the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic Elías Jaua Milano but was postponed to due to unforeseen circumstances.
President Donald Ramotar, Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Margarita Arratia Dias and Chief Engineer Walter Willis look at a photograph of the late Hugo Chavez after whom the Rehabilitation Centre was named
Today’s commissioning comes five months after the death of Venezuela’s much respected President Hugo Chavez, who the facility was named after as a symbol of Guyana’s honour.
President Ramotar, who incumbent Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro described as a good friend and ally, spoke with admiration about Chavez, whose approval and patronage to the Centre was a symbol of his commitment to helping the poor and vulnerable.
The male dormitory and sick bay at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration
“President Chavez was not only concerned about the poor and the disadvantaged in Venezuela, but he demonstrated his own regional and international spirit. In Guyana this is one of the projects that show his great humanity, and we know also that many other countries in our region and afar benefitted from his true sense of fighting to lift humanity,” President Ramotar said.
Among Chavez’s initiatives is PetroCaribe, which has allowed signatory nations like Guyana to benefit from subisdised Venezuelan fuel through a reciprocal agreement that has opened up Venezuelan markets to rice exports from Guyana.
“When the Commander (Chavez) made the decision to approve this project (homeless shelter) to be funded by Alba, through PetroCaribe, he did it because of his compassion and commitment to help the most disadvantaged persons…for the government and the people of Venezuela, the fact that this centre bears the name of our eternal Commander Hugo Chavez, is of great significance,” Ambassador Arratia Dias said in her remarks.
President Maduro’s vow to continue his predecessor’s legacy found favour with President Ramotar who believes that both Guyana and Venezuela share a somewhat similar philosophy.
“Like the policies of the PPP/C Government that follow the philosophy that the most important factor for development is people, and the quality of the people that we have, this is another demonstration of our togetherness in our thinking as we open this building here today,” President Ramotar.
Through its aggressive housing initiative and measures that will lead to job creation and self entrepreneurship, President Ramotar said the Government remains committed to the task of giving hope to the country’s vulnerable.
President Donald Ramotar and Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Margarita Arratia Dias among those touring one of the dormitories at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration
That effort he believes would have been augmented with the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) and the benefits that it holds for the country gaining cheap and reliable electricity.
“We would have been able to supply electricity to domestic users and also to the commercial sectors by 40 percent. Ten years after at today’s price, we would have been able to bring it down by 70 percent and in 20 years… it would have been cut by 91 percent of today’s prices,” President Ramotar said.
Although disappointed at legislators’ narrow political agenda, President Ramotar said he will continue working to help the country realise the dream of cheap energy.
President Donald Ramotar and Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Margarita Arratia Dias being taken around the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration. First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar is also in photo