MINISTER of Public Works, Juan Edghill, on Tuesday, visited a number of ongoing infrastructural projects in Regions Five and Six, where he urged the contractors to get the work done in keeping with the specifications outlined in their contracts.
According to a press statement from the Public Works Ministry, works in Region Five at De Hoop, Mahaica, are progressing well. However, in Region Six, particularly at Brehaspat Street, Number Two Village, the contractor had “demobilised”.
Minister Edghill was told that the contractor had done so due to allegations of physical abuse by residents.
The residents, during a meeting with Edghill, explained that the contractor had used “sappy materials” as a base for the road being built in the area, and that this was vehemently objected to by the residents, who also voiced concerns with regard to the road not being graded before loam was layered. That particular project is being pursued at a cost of $31.6 million.
It was later explained by the Ministry’s engineer that sections of the road, which had not deteriorated, were not removed but was used as a foundation for the layer of loam. Further on the issue of the “sappy materials” being used, Minister Edghill warned that if the allegations are found to be accurate, the Engineer, Clerk of Works and the contractor will be held accountable for rectifying same at no cost to the ministry.
Edghill also urged residents, during the meeting, to be respectful in voicing their concerns to contractors operating in their area. He noted that they should not halt development plans, but t0 continue being the eyes of the community, in a respectful manner.
While in Black Bush Polder, Minister Edghill stopped and inspected construction works being done by the Guyana Defence Force in Lesbeholden, one of four settlements that make up Black Bush Polder, in Region Six. The team was busy constructing a 90-foot heavy-duty timber bridge to benefit the residents.
Also, in Black Bush Polder, the minister inspected ongoing road works. Residents thanked Minister Edghill for his visit and for ensuring that the road is being built. Also accompanying Minister Edghill to a community meeting was the Regional Chairman, David Armogan; Regional Vice Chairman, Zamal Hussain and Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council, Ubraj Matadeen.
During remarks, Minister Edghill pointed to the importance of farm-to-market roads; he said that even amid the birthing years of oil production here in Guyana, the agriculture industry remains pivotal to the overall development of this land of many waters.
The minister also used the opportunity to highlight the importance of trucks adhering to the weight limits set out for various thoroughfares, as a means of maintaining the integrity of certain roads. In fact, one resident said he feels that rice millers should be held accountable for damaging the road due to over-loaded vehicles in Black Bush. One resident, who attended the meeting from Yakusari North, complained that farmers are converting the residential house lots to farm lands, much to their discomfort. The resident said that due to the farming activity, heavy-duty trucks would frequent the internal streets and cause damage. Residents also complained of being affected by the use of chemicals. Minister Edghill promised to look into their concerns.