HAVING faced years with potholed roads, poor sanitation and a lack of proper sporting facilities, and street lighting, residents are praising the improvements that Bartica has seen over the past four years.
Councillor on the Town Council, and businessman, Kenneth Williams, recently commended the improved state of the area. “Bartica has street and other lights at about 85-90 per cent. That is a vast improvement of a few years ago,” he said.
In Bartica, the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Communities, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the municipality of the township, have collaborated over the past few years in the rehabilitating of roads from the Essequibo River waterfront to as far as the Five Miles area near the Bartica aerodrome.
Many of the roads were unpaved before 2016.
The Bartica Community Centre was recently upgraded and now has two huge spectator stands, a basketball and volleyball court and an air-conditioned community boardroom, 100 per cent powered by solar energy which speaks to the commitment if making Bartica a ‘Green’ township. Bartica has seen huge improvements in sanitation facilities and garbage collection in the area. The unfavourable garbage situation was brought under control by the MoC Sanitation Management Unit, which supervised the construction of a small but much-needed controlled dumpsite just away from the commercial district.
“I can honestly say they have done good work with the [dumpsite]. You don’t smell nothing when you go pass that landfill site. They made good improvements with that,” notes 57-year-old taxi driver, Daniel Atherly. Atherly says, however, that commercial activities in Bartica and its environs have slowed a bit in recent years for reasons associated mostly with volatility in the mining industry.
For many of the 15,000 people under the umbrella and governance of the Bartica Municipality, the conversion from a sometimes ‘wild-west’ community, flushed with beer-drinking miners, to the full-fledged capital town of the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region, is an overwhelming success.
Bartica is one of several capital towns that the Government of President David Granger has created since the Coalition came to power in mid-2015. Government commissioned the area officially as a town in May, 2016.
The aim of government is to improve the livelihood of its residents, provide basic facilities that people in the City and coast take for granted, improve living standards for hinterland residents and allow for self-governance at least at the municipal level.
Established as a Christian mission in the late 1880s, Bartica is an access point to miners heading to rich gold and diamond-bearing lands in the lush Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region.
Commissioning the town four years ago, President Granger argued that “Bartica always deserved to be a town and whatever happened was an historical error, a great travesty.
Bartica is always in my heart. The Church of St. John the Baptist was established 185 years ago and (today) I will join you, the residents of Bartica in worshiping there, the first church I worshiped at. You are a town now. This is your moment to dazzle the rest of Guyana. History is being made here. Instead of being the third, you are now the seventh town in Guyana and you should all be proud of your achievements and I congratulate you,” he said.