MINISTER of State, Mr Joseph Harmon on Wednesday reaffirmed government’s commitment to decentralising and improving access to government services for every Guyanese when he officially declared open, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission’s (GLSC) spanking new $37M office in New Amsterdam, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six).
At the simple ceremony, Minister Harmon said government has a responsibility to ensure that all the services of the State are available to all citizens, regardless of geographic location, political affiliation or any other factor. “What this represents is government’s commitment to providing quality services to the people of Guyana, irrespective of where they are; on the coast, hinterland or anywhere.
The quality of service we provide must be the same everywhere and that’s a commitment we made to the people when we assumed office. We said that there would be no distinction between the coast and the hinterland and so… what is happening here today is part of a process that has been undertaken by the government. We have made that commitment to this country that we will look after the ordinary man and to the extent to which government services would be provided to as near as possible to people where they live,” Minister Harmon said.
During the sod turning ceremony in 2018, the minister of state had given the charge that the new building should not be about the office space for the staff and convenience, but more importantly, it should represent the quality of service which the people of Guyana have a right to expect from the public service. He said that he is happy to note that the commission has taken this element seriously and incorporated it into the new office. “When I looked at this building when I arrived, I recognised that the GLSC has taken the question of service to the people seriously. They did not provide a building where it is air-conditioned only for staff and the public is seated in the hot sun; the staff and public will enjoy the same level of comfort,” he stated.
Ms. Paulette Henry, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the GLSC, in her remarks, said the commission is pleased that the government has been progressive-minded since its assumption of office and it is under this guidance that expansion is taking place. “I am happy to be serving under a government that is progressive and looks towards the development of every area of service. Minister Harmon, I thank you for the contribution and support that you continue to give us at the commission.
I am also happy that we can see this type of progression in Berbice. It signals the kind of service that we want to offer to the citizens and it is a commitment to what we want to give to the people. They have been asking for more and we have to give that to them. We know that there is more that needs to be done and we are working to ensure that we can improve the delivery of services to the people,” she said.
Manager of the Land Administration Division of the GLSC, Mr Michael Hutson said that the agency is positioning itself not only to better serve the members of the public, but also to better provide 21st century land administration, mapping and surveying services. “We have been occupying the Regional Democratic Council’s office for the past couple of years but with us moving here now, we will be able to better serve the needs of the public. We are also embarking on the upgrading of our facilities to ensure this happens and so far, works have been done on the office in Georgetown, which is the largest customer base as well as revenue, and so on that basis, first thought and action was given there.
Region Six is the largest acreage portfolio so attention was then placed here,” he explained. Mr Hutson further noted that construction for an office in Crane, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three) has begun while plans are in train for a Centre of Excellence to be built in Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven). An area has also been surveyed in Kwakwani, Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice (Region Ten), for a new office while one is awaiting commissioning in Port Kaituma, Barima- Waini (Region One).
Mayor of New Amsterdam, Her Worship, Ms Winifred Heywood, said the Town Council is pleased that the government is undertaking initiatives, which will improve the lives of residents in that area. “I want to thank the Government of Guyana for seeing the need to have the Lands and Surveys department in their own building where they have their own space to perform more effectively and efficiently. It is also improving the aesthetics of the oldest town in this country,” she said. The building is solar powered and has been designed to ensure ease of access for persons with disabilities. (Ministry of the Presidency)