Local Gov’t to probe incomplete Achawib solar project

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall plans to request an investigation into an incomplete solar project at Achiwuib, Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall addresses residents of Achawib

This pledge was made during a ministerial outreach in Achawib on Monday after Deputy Toshao, Mr. Wilton Johnson brought the issue to the Minister’s attention after the donation of two 12V/200AH solar batteries and a charge controller to the village.

Mr. Johnson said the former administration initiated a solar project meant to power lights in the Amerindian village approximately three months before the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

The Deputy Toshao stated that the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure signed a contract with the Village Council for the village to provide 25 lantern posts, after which the Government was responsible for the installation of lights on the posts throughout the village.

“We are waiting on that ‘til up to today. We never heard a word about that,” Mr. Johnson added.

Deputy Toshao of Achawib, Mr. Wilton Johnson

Additionally, the Deputy Toshao said the Village Council and residents who worked on the project are yet to receive payment for their labour and the posts, a combined total of $750,000.

Mr. Johnson said the project officer told the village that batteries would be delivered and connected to the inverters and solar panels that were put in place shortly before the batteries arrived.

Unfortunately, 48 batteries were simply placed in a control room without any further works done.

When asked if those attached to the project at the time made contact with the village on the project after delivering the batteries, the Deputy Toshao told DPI, “they told me that other engineers would come and hook up the batteries and ‘til up to now, to this day, nothing.”

The 48 batteries that were placed in a control room in Achawib

Minister Dharamlall was accompanied to the community by the Region Nine’s Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Carl Singh and Regional Chairman, Mr. Bryan Allicock.

The new Administration has committed to provide approximately 25,000 solar units for hinterland communities as part of a US$10Million line of credit from the Indian Government. Those funds will also resuscitate the One Laptop programme in the hinterland.