— concerns addressed during gov’t outreach
THE majority of residents from the Matarkai sub-region in Region One, who sought assistance from the government agencies that were present at the Port Kaituma Community Ground, left satisfied, after engaging ministers and officials present at the various booths, on Friday.
This edition of ‘Government Comes to You’ is the first in Region One and residents expressed appreciation to the government, for not only taking the initiative to the township of Mabaruma but to the sub-region district, saving them thousands of dollars in transportation.
A ‘Government Comes to You’ is expected to be rolled into Mabaruma within the next few weeks.
Residents journeyed from several villages in the sub-region such as Sebai, Arakaka, Baramita and Matthew’s Ridge, among others, to Port Kaituma, to benefit from the mobile government initiative, which brings government services to the people, thus saving them the trouble of journeying to Georgetown. The government ministries and agencies that were present on Friday were the Ministry of the Presidency and its various departments including Department of Citizenry and Department of Sport; Ministry of Public Health,
Ministry of Social Protection and its departments including the Department of Labour and Department of Social Services; Ministry of Natural Resources; Ministry of Communities and its Central Housing and Planning Authority; the Guyana Revenue Authority; and the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, among others. The ministers, who were present at the event include Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo; Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sidney Allicock; Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence; Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix; Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally; Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Annette Ferguson; Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valarie Garrido-Lowe.
After the formal part of the event, where President David Granger gave the feature address, residents did not delay in getting to the respective booths of interest. The Department of Citizenship booth however, was the most crowded. Scores of persons converged there in hopes to receive their birth certificates and to sort out other citizenry issues. These include Venezuelans.
Ministry of Citizenship, Winston Felix, did not disappoint and had in his possession, hundreds of birth certificates which he was able to present to the anxiously waiting residents.
Madine Dolaveira was able to uplift her son’s birth certificate and did so in sheer smiles. She said, “I am very happy to receive this birth certificate within two weeks, it saved me from going to Georgetown. I saved a lot of money… I feel the rest of residents should be really proud and happy too because from Kaituma to Georgetown is very, very expensive and I’m very proud of the minister,” she said.
Over at the social services booths, many young mothers were seen approaching the booth seeking public assistance for their children. These women shared genuine stories of why they needed the monthly financial backing and the courteous and willing staff, facilitated the process required for public assistance.
One of the mothers, who visited with her young baby, told this publication that her husband, who was a pork knocker, died six months ago and since then it has been hard on her. She could not even afford to journey to Georgetown to visit the ministry’s office and now that the mobile office came to Port Kaituma, she could not have been more pleased.
The Social Protection’s booth also made available its Trafficking in Person services, which is a sore issue in the Barima-Waini Region. Many residents were informed on how they can identify and assist TIP victims.
The Ministry of Public Health’s booth not only focused on listening to people’s concerns and providing solutions, but made available a wide range of medication and other medical equipment of which many residents stood in long queues to receive. In its effort to further change people’s lives, the ministry donated wheel chairs and transfer benches to the incapacitated.
Clarence Rodrigues received a wheelchair and a transfer bench to assist him with his mobility. He was elated.
“I feel happy about it, because right now I don’t have money to buy nothing. I’m thankful for it. I thank the government because I would be able to move, move around the house and do something for myself.”
Both of Rodrigues’ legs were amputated in February of 2016, as a result of diabetes.
While the outreach allowed for the residents to receive individual assistance, the wider community benefitted from a donation of an ambulance to the Government of Guyana by the International Import and Supplies Limited. Company representative, Crystal Rose, said the emergency medical service vehicle will be utilised by the Port Kaituma Hospital for the residents of the sub-region district.
“In the last four years, our company has executed several infrastructural projects within this region and as part of our mandate we fully embrace our corporate social responsibility. We recognise the need for an ambulance to assist the medical personnel in the region, in the continuation of sufficient healthcare and as such we are very happy to entrust this ambulance in your care,” she said. The ambulance was commissioned by President Granger and Minister Volda Lawrence. An ATV and boat engine was also donated to the region’s health sector by the government for its improvement in services.
For the education sector, President Granger donated a cheque to purchase a boat engine to the toshao of Sebai, Raymond James. The engine will serve a school boat that is currently being constructed for the students in the community. This is part of the President’s Public Education Transportation Services.
In its entirety, the event was deemed a success. Residents applauded the government for the initiative, which shows that it cares for citizens both in the hinterland and on the coastland. Lovern Peters, resident of Mattew’s Ridge said, “We are very happy for this, as the President said, we are not bush, we matter because we thought they would have taken it to Mabaruma alone and to get there is money. But is right close to us. They even provided free transportation from Matthew’s Ridge to Port Kaituma, for those who wanted to come across, this is history in this sub-region,” she said.