-Region 10 Administration seeks better relationship with Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs
By Vanessa Braithwaite
THE Regional Democratic Council of Region 10 (Region 10 RDC) is calling for better collaboration with the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs in an effort to alleviate some of the burning issues facing residents in Indigenous communities situated up the Berbice River.On a recent visit to Upper Berbice riverine communities, Region 10 Chairman Renis Morian and Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph bemoaned the unfavourable conditions under which residents and students are forced to live.
Among the communities they visited are Kalkuni, 8 Miles, Sand Hills and Kimbia.
Adolph told media operatives on Monday that most of the lavatory facilities at schools and health posts in Upper Berbice riverine communities are either out of service or in a deplorable state.
Parents of the children attending these schools are gravely concerned about this, as in some instances they have been suffering for years.
He made mention of the teachers’ washroom facility at Sand Hills, which has been inaccessible for the last two years, forcing teachers to use other alternatives to relief themselves.
Parents and teachers of Murataro Primary School were forced to construct a pit latrine for the children after the newly-constructed washroom facility began “falling apart”.
Vice Chairman Adolph said higher quality materials should be used when constructing facilities in riverine communities, so as to avoid wasting money in reconstruction. “We need to look for things that have durability, because you have 30, you have 40 children using the washrooms; so you need to have good things for them,” he said.
“We have visited four communities: none (of the washroom facilities) in the health post, neither in the schools, are working,” he explained.
Several health concerns were also raised by residents of the riverine communities visited. The regional officials were told that there is a shortage of drugs at the various outposts, and there is no medical personnel to administer the drugs or to urgently attend to any medical situation.
While there are health workers who do periodic visits to these communities, the residents are calling for medical workers or doctors to be assigned to these communities, or at least two such personnel for the Berbice River.
There are also concerns about young people living in these riverine communities not being able to benefit from training programmes held in Linden.
Regional Chairman Renis Morian alluded to a recent training programme from which those youths did not benefit. This, he said, would have been avoided if the RDC had possessed a better relationship with the requisite Ministry.
There are also located in the river several State resources from which the residents can benefit. Currently, there is located at Sand Hills a huge boat that was bought by the previous administration before the last elections. The Chairman said that while farmers and residents are experiencing difficulty in transporting their produce to the market, the boat can be used for that very purpose.
In Murataro, there is also a generator that can be used to source electricity for other riverine communities, but it is basically left to rot while residents can benefit from this.
“I feel (that) once we work together, (with the Ministry) there will be accountability for Government’s resources in Indigenous areas,” Chairman Morian said. Morian said the problem lies at the feet of the Permanent Secretary to bring an end to the neglect of the communities up the river.