– others on campaign trail remind Amelia’s Ward residents ‘one good term deserves another’
By Vanessa Braithwaite
AFTER 23 years of treating Linden and its peoples like the proverbial stepchildren, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) should know better than to come here begging for votes during this campaign season. This was vintage PNCR executive member Aubrey Norton in action as the featured speaker at the Amelia’s Ward campaign meeting on Sunday evening. To loud cheers from an audience emboldened by his very presence, Norton said that the PPP often boasts of being the party with the wherewithal and political will to develop the Amelia’s Ward housing scheme, but what they’ve failed to realise is that not only was Amelia’s Ward the brainchild of the late Linden Forbes Burnham, but also a well-developed housing scheme, as opposed to what obtained under successive PPP administrations, when all they did was give out “bush lots”. “They gave us a piece of land. No road; no water; no light,” Norton said, adding: “This Government has begun the process of restoring communities. When we gave you, we gave you a house with roads and light; not a house lot.”
Speaking further on the issue of land allocation, he reminded those before him that while ordinary citizens like themselves had to pay $500 for a square foot of land, PPP government ministers and their cronies sold themselves at the princely sum of $144 per square foot.
Warming to the topic, Norton said that in addition to poor infrastructural development, no projects to speak of to drive the community’s economy were initiated in Linden; that in fact, the PPP did away with the very projects that were implemented to stimulate the economy. “They seem to forget that they had a Bunker C fuel plant here that served us, and they sold it to one of their cronies, and then plunged Linden into darkness,” Norton said, adding: “You who have short memories, we are going to remind you. The PPP’s record in Linden is bad, and so they should be ashamed to come to Linden, because they did not treat Linden as part of Guyana.”
Noting that by contrast, the present administration, led by President Granger, has ensured that development has occurred in all ten of the country’s administrative regions, whether those regions are in support of or opposed to it, Norton asked Amelia’s Ward not to forget the dark days of the PPP, and not be fooled by their empty promises of 50,000 jobs. He urged, instead, that they look at what has been done for their community in the last four years in terms of development, such as the many efforts to decentralise several key services such as citizenry and social services.
These were highlighted in detail by Councillor Deron Adams, who spoke of the plethora of training opportunities that have benefited many Linden youths, the construction of a synthetic track in the region; street lighting in places where there were none before; and job creation projects, amongst other things. “We are not where we want to be, but we are surely not where we used to be,” Adams said, adding: “We have seen clean progress… Lindeners, understand that your best days are ahead.”
Zeroing in on projects in Amelia’s Ward alone, Constituency Representative Yanick Graham highlighted the fact that Bamia-Amelia’s Ward benefited from electrification in 2016 for the first time; that more roads than ever have been constructed and rehabilitated in the community; more streets were lit in once neglected communities; the construction of the first community centre; forestry concessions for residents for the first time was given, amongst other things. He said that youths are so upbeat and empowered by what is transpiring, that they have formed themselves into youth groups to ensure these projects reach the right people and the right communities.
AFC Regional Chairman Devin Sears touched on educational development in the township, through the establishment of a mining school; the construction of a multi-million-dollar dormitory to provide accommodation for students in outlying communities who desire to pursue studies at the Linden Technical Institute; as well as the provision of Internet access all across Linden. “Under the PPP, they treat Linden like it was a bad kidney or a dirty old sore, and they constantly ignored us. But for 23 years, that kidney started to fail and affect our body. They ignored Linden so much that it started to affect development in Guyana. But let me tell you, God sent David Granger, and he planted a new kidney and he fix we up. And now the country looking nice,” Sears affirmed, urging his audience, “One good term deserves another.”