By Richard Bhainie
AS the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is currently making preparations for the 2021 budget, peculiar concentration is being directed towards the training of human personnel, the enhancement of relationships with communities and the strengthening of local organs to execute the ministry’s mandate. This was disclosed by Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, during an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, on Thursday, whilst elaborating on some of his ministry’s plans for the year 2021. The minister revealed that the implementation of the emergency budget in 2020 was just the tip of the iceberg, and the significant progress that resulted from the said budget was an indication of how the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government will be moving forward.
“I believe that in 2021, we will intensify that relationship that we have with our citizens and they can expect greater investments in community,” Dharamlall said. He noted that major plans are underway for infrastructure: roads, bridges, physical amenities within villages and street lighting. The ministry will also be expending heavily in terms of drainage and irrigation works. Dharamlall disclosed that one of the areas his ministry is working assiduously to strengthen and develop is the management of solid waste in the country; plans are currently underway to develop new landfill sites and improve existing ones.
“We intend to expand our strength and effort in solid waste management; we are looking in Region Two to have another area for a landfill; in Region Three and Four does not have one, so in 2021 we plan, as far as possible, to get landfills facilities in those regions,” the minister explained. He added: “Also in 2021, cell two of the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill Facility will start receiving solid waste.” Markets are also slated to see major upgrades. The minister indicated that requests have already been made for significant infrastructural work to major markets such as Parika, Charity and Mon Repos.
HUMAN AND SOCIAL CAPITAL
“We will also be investing heavily in human and social capital within the regions. In addition to us doing community infrastructure, we also have to uplift lives — that is a significant area of our responsibility at the ministry,” the minister noted while explaining that extensive resources will be directed to the development of youth and vulnerable groups. The focus of the ministry’s investment in the human resource will extend beyond just citizens within the communities; major training and development will be conducted with staff within the ministry and its various organs to ensure efficient and effective implementation of its policies. “Right now we are building internal capacity in the ministry and in the regions to ensure project implementation becomes much more efficient, we will be visiting all 10 regions in the course of the next few weeks to make sure all of the technical officers are on board with what is happening,” Dharamlall said.
Citizens can also expect the revamping of neighbourhood democratic councils (NDC) and municipalities. Dharamlall explained that efforts are being made to modernise services offered by the NDCs and municipalities and to ensure persons benefit from those services. In these regards ‘councils will be held to a higher standard and they will have a more prevalent role in the communities in terms of addressing issues. Dharamlall explained that it is the ministry’s intention to ensure persons from within the communities benefit significantly from projects implemented in their communities, and, as such, these individuals will spearhead many projects. “We will also be doing what has not really been done before and that is to involve as many persons within the communities themselves to be a part of the execution of works, which will create a lot of jobs within the communities. We began that late last year and we will intensify it this year,” Dharamlall noted.