Region Eight villagers urged to hold their leaders accountable
GINA Guyana, Thursday, March 30, 2017
Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, urged the residents of Region Eight to engage in self-help to ensure that community projects and infrastructure are maintained.
Dr. Norton was part of a team of government officials including Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valarie Garrido-Lowe, who visited Kato Village on Wednesday, and met with Toshaos and councillors of District One in Region Eight.
“Self-help is not an old thing, it can still work. We have to start doing it sometimes… I agree there is some amount of limitation but we have to do our own thing, our own little work here and there,” Minister Norton told the village leaders.
Norton said that residents should not be complaining to ministers about issues that they themselves can resolve such as students defacing the sanitary facilities at the schools. “You can’t expect the Ministry of Education (Dr.Rupert Roopnaraine) in Georgetown to come and fix your school toilet that your child using every day that’s not how it works, the residents themselves should come together and make certain that it is clean and properly maintained,” he pointed out.
Minister Norton was not satisfied with what he observed upon entering the Village. He said that while all of the issues cannot be addressed overnight, village leaders need to be more responsible, because they were elected by the people, whom they are required to serve.
“We got to make people responsible for what they are supposed to be doing…I was a Toshao like you when funds were deprived from me for my village because I did not belong to the party in power, and we (the government) don’t operate like that. Where we have a problem and you have people in charge who are not doing the work, that must stop,” Minister Norton said.
The people must be defenders of themselves, Minister Norton said. “…we have confidence in you, you have been living here for years and you understand your struggles. We are all in this together…This belongs to you nobody must come and run your business. It is time Regions Eight gets leaders that are for Region Eight,” the minister said.
In the area of education, Minister Norton said that the results for mathematics at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examination in the Hinterland are very worrying. “…they are without teachers and then we have to go and compete against the students in Georgetown, this worries me… But, if I could have reached up to Queens College and go on to study further, I think you could do it too and your children could do it. We must not deprive ourselves of this and I don’t want to hear excuses (about can’t),” Minister Norton admonished the residents.
The ministers’ visit forms part of a series of outreaches ministers has been conducting to share information directly with residents on the plans and policies of the government.
By: Synieka Thorne