By Jared Liddell
RESIDENTS of the northern section of the little-known community of Lust-en-Rust, in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), will have access to electricity for the first time by Friday.
Minister within the ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar made this commitment during an outreach on Saturday. The community, according to the minister, has been without electricity since its establishment over ten years ago.
Minister Indar disclosed that the necessary infrastructure for the distribution of electricity has been set up for quite some time but was not being powered. According to him, since he took up office in August 2020, he received numerous complaints from the residents, which prompted him to mobilise teams from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to address the situation.
Minister Indar emphasised that with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way all sectors of the world operate, it is especially important that persons have access to electricity during this period. He pointed out that many residents in the area have school-aged children who have little to no access to online learning, due to the fact that there is no electricity, hence there is no way to access stable Wi-Fi for their Online classes.
According to Minster Indar, the electricity will provide some amount of security to the residents, who had expressed fear that bandits and thieves may tap into the lack of lighting in the community and wreak havoc.
“This is a housing scheme that was developed under the PPP administration, and a lot of people; thousands of people live here. And to see our citizens in a COVID environment not having access to any form of electricity and subsequent learning for their children is literally heart-breaking,” Minister Indar lamented.
Several sections of the community already have access to electricity; he noted that while the process just began in the northern section of Lust-en-Rust, the southern and remaining sections of the scheme will have access to electricity by January 22, 2021.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Malgre Tout/Meer Zorgen Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Tennessee Vickerie said the commodity is “much needed.”
“Electricity is needed in this housing scheme; there are lots of families with children and so living here, and this will help them… For years, this place has been like this; we know right now the children are at home, and they have to use the internet service. And right now, they would be hampered with not having the internet service, since they would not have electricity to power the Wi-Fi equipment,” Vickerie reiterated.
He explained that with the area being powered, there will be more development and growth in the population. Meanwhile, the residents also lauded the intervention of the minister to bring about a timely relief to an issue that plagued them for years.
Antonett Barry, who lives in the community with her five children, is especially appreciative of the initiative. She stated that since the pandemic hit in March 2020, her children have “fallen behind” in school, since they have no access to online learning.
With the community now getting electricity for the first time, she will now be able to ensure her children actively take part in online classes. Barry also noted that the electricity will benefit residents like herself who are self-employed, and rely on electricity for their business activities.
“I have fridge; I does sell and make a living, because I am a single mother of five. It will help me a great deal, so I can sell my ice, my icicle and so on to make a living. And there are others like me that live here and do businesses like this, so all of us would benefit now,” Barry said.