By Michel Outridge
THIS week the Pepperpot Magazine visited the countryside community of Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo.
This village is relatively large and consists of three phases — the old scheme, the new scheme and the public road section with a population of more than 3,000, mostly of Indo-Guyanese ethnicity and a handful of Afro-Guyanese.
Zeelugt Village is located between De Kinderen, West Coast Demerara and Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.
It is home to skilled workers such as cane-cutters, carpenters, masons, construction workers, teachers, nurses, office employees and other equally qualified professionals.
Zeelugt Village is very populated and has a lot of shops, supermarkets and stores, a central hub for businesses and it is a developing community which stretches from the seawall to the backlands.
Zeelugt Village has two nursery schools, a primary school, a cemetery and a health post.
The community has upgraded roads and internal streets, potable water, electricity, internet and cable services, a landline service and there is no shortage of small shops in this ‘neck of the woods.’
It is also safe to say that the village is self-sufficient and there are a large number of housewives, stay-at-home moms and some others, who do part-time jobs which include domestic house-cleaning and the picking of shrimps.
The village also has an active community policing group and a police outpost.
There are a large number of unemployed youths in the village, who are addicted to drugs and can be seen openly at street corners smoking the illicit drug and then there are groups of mature men, who would gather and imbibe alcohol.
Despite these pitfalls in the village, there is an upside to all this: most of the residents are ‘go-getters,’ mostly small-business people, who earn an honest dollar daily, by utilising their skills.
Meanwhile, the new Chairman of the Tuschen/Uitvlugt Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Ramzan Ali, told the Pepperpot Magazine that it was his first day on the job as Chairman of the NDC, a portfolio that is new to him.
He related that he is, however, open to learning but is aware of the needs of the communities under his watch and, being the Imam of the Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara Masjid, he does a lot of behind-the-scenes community work.
Ali, a resident of the same village, related that after being briefed by the Overseer of the NDC on ongoing works and current projects for the development of the communities, he can safely say that there is a lot in store for Zeelugt Village.
The Chairman added that an access bridge was constructed, linking the village to the cemetery and it was proposed that the said burial ground be cleaned.
Ali reported that the street where the Zeelugt Health Post is located will be upgraded from its current deplorable state and unfinished work at the Health Post will be completed.
He stated that Water Pump Street will also be upgraded and five other roads within the village will be re-paved.
Ali disclosed that they will undertake repairs to the water trestle at the Zeelugt Primary School and also install a new one with a water tank to ensure that an adequate water supply is at the school.
He pointed out that the NDC was allocated $7 million for the project, in which the Boerasarie Community Centre will be upgraded and a spectators’ stand will be constructed.
The residents of neighbouring villages, including Zeelugt, utilises this community centre ground for games and other events.
“Works are underway to have a massive clean-up from De Kinderen to Zeelugt villages shortly and that will see drains, canals, trenches and parapets cleaned,” he said.
Ali added that a plot has been allocated for a multi-purpose centre which will be used for skills training for youths and the women of the village will benefit from sewing and cooking classes to empower them.
He reported that under current works there are several projects for several villages under his watch, but highlighted only those which will be done in Zeelugt Village, East Bank Essequibo.