“Once it has to do with the quality of life of our people, we will be there with you” – State Minister makes good on promise to Alexander Village residents
Georgetown, Guyana — (January 29, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, yesterday afternoon, promised to work alongside neighbourhood constituencies in order to achieve an improved quality of life for all Guyanese. The Minister made this pledge while at a commissioning ceremony for three newly constructed bridges at Alexander Village in Georgetown.
The construction of the bridges is the fulfilment of a promise made by the State Minister to improve infrastructure in that community during a village meeting in May of 2017.
Minister Harmon said that no project that improves quality of life for Guyanese should be considered minute or insignificant. “This is not what you would call a high-ticket budgeted item, but the Ministry found a way to ensure that these bridges [were constructed]… I am here to emphasise… that it doesn’t matter how expensive the project is… Once it has to do with the quality of life of our people, we will be there with you,” he said.
Minister Harmon also encouraged the residents to be proactive in seeking improvement for their village. “You have to be restless in dealing with your community affairs… You have to be aggressive in defending and making your case for your community… This is the spirit of working together for the benefit of your community,” he said.
The Minister thanked the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, which was responsible for facilitating the project.
Mayor of Georgetown, Ms. Patricia Chase-Green further emphasised the importance of community involvement when undertaking infrastructural improvement projects. “At the level of the [Mayor and City] Council, we have advocated that at every constituency there must be a committee that is made up of residents so that you can have works done… We are working in collaboration with Ministry of Public Infrastructure… Together we can make it work,” she said.
Director of Sport, Mr. Christopher Jones said that, in the spirit of social cohesion, he hopes that the new playground, which could not be completed due to inclement weather in December, will help Alexander Village improve relationships with West Ruimveldt. “Now that you have bridges, it is time for us to cement linkages in that area. The West Ruimveldt Community Centre Ground… is there to benefit both the residents of Alexander Village and West Ruimveldt. The Ministry of Social Cohesion and the Department of Sport… are committed to seeing the completion of that ground,” he said.
Alexander Village Resident and Community Organiser, Ms. Coretta McDonald described some of the ways in which the newly constructed bridges would benefit her fellow residents. “This is the gateway [for residents] to get to and from work. Just in case of an emergency, you have the gateway here to get to several schools. With the rehabilitation of these bridges residents are now going to be feeling much more comfortable traversing the bridges day in, day out, because [the grounds are] clear. [The bridges are] not shaky… and you can walk [confidently] over the bridges,” she said.
The three completed bridges connect Alexander to West Ruimveldt at Fourth, Third, and Second Streets, giving commuters direct access to Hunter Street. The fourth bridge, located on First Street, is still under construction.
After the ceremony, residents of the community were given the opportunity to air their concerns, which the Minister and his team took careful note of. The residents, who mostly voiced concerns about drainage in the area, were relieved to hear that the Minister would, on their behalf, seek the assistance of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to have an official assessment of the village in order to properly rectify the problem.
The event also saw the Director of Sport handing over a quantity of sporting equipment including soccer, tennis, and volley balls, and tennis rackets to the Alexander Village Bikers, Skaters and Reading club, a recreational club for high-performing students.