THE absence of good governance and accountability has been stymieing development in the village of Hobodeia, Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini). This is according to Ministerial Adviser in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Member of Parliament (MP), Mervyn Williams
Engaging the residents at a community meeting on Saturday, MP Williams sought to address the issue of accountability within the village council. He noted that millions of dollars have been invested in the community under the Presidential Grant initiative; however, results have not been forthcoming since the village began benefitting from the programme in 2009.
Between 2009 and 2017, the village received funding to establish a beekeeping project and a livestock venture. Further support was provided for ginger and yam projects and other agriculture undertakings. These initiatives were never realised, and to date, no village leader can account for these resources.
“You have had leaders in the past who have not been demonstrating the level of accountability desired. If we are to have development… we got to stop voting in toshaos and village council because they may be related or because we like them. We got to start voting in toshaos because we believe that the vision that they have for the village is good… we have to look to people who can prepare for us a path to development that will lift the quality of life for this village,” MP Williams told the residents.
He reiterated that lack of proper management of the village’s financial resources hinders economic progress. Therefore, the residents must play a more crucial role in demanding that village leaders justify resources that are put in their care.
“Your Presidential Grant for 2019 is there … but you have got to decide what the village will do with the money, and you will have to justify how the entire village will reap the benefits from that project when you get the money, and you will have to convince your ministry that you have a better-managed council,” he further told residents.
MP Williams urged the village to prioritise the crafting of their Village Improvement Plan (VIP) as mandated by President David Granger. This, he said, will guide the community’s development for 2020 and beyond. It will also coincide with the Decade of Development (2020-2030) which was outlined by the Head of State.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, the Hon Sydney Allicock, would be willing to provide any technical assistance the village may need in crafting their VIP, MP Williams assured the residents. (DPI)