– as Regional Chairman, Vice-Chair finally sworn in
By Vishani Ragobeer
A number of key investments will be made to enhance development in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) as the government intends to build stronger partnerships with the newly sworn-in Regional Chairman, Headley Pio and Vice-Chair, Claris Francisco, according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali.
On Monday, the two elected members of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) were sworn in by President Ali at the Office of the President, at Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown. There, the President highlighted that even though Region Eight has the smallest population, the resource-rich region is an integral part of Guyana’s development.
Importantly, he highlighted, “This region will see tremendous investment and improvement in healthcare, education, other social services, but importantly, we will be working closely to ensure that we build sustainable communities, through sustainable livelihood programmes and sustainable employment opportunities.”
The President also reminded that Guyana’s developmental trajectory is premised on expanding the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), and as such, the Potaro-Siparuni region has a pivotal role to play in the implementation of this strategy. Aside from the expansive forest cover and biodiversity in this region, the flagship hydropower project of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)– the Amaila Falls Hydropower — is located on the Kuribrong River in this region.
Recently, the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, highlighted that the government intends to reactivate efforts to ensure that Guyana’s national grid is augmented with sustainable, cheap and reliable hydropower. As such, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would become a reality under the incumbent administration.
The President also said that the government aims to engage the region in the diversification of its local economy, with a focus on investments to enhance food security and agriculture. Attention will also be directed towards lowering the cost of transportation for the region.
And to facilitate the investments to be made in this region, President Ali emphasised that he is eager to build partnerships with the new regional administration. Following the simple swearing-in ceremony, the Regional Chairman told the Guyana Chronicle that he welcomes the developmental focus on Region Eight, explaining that transforming the region is one of his aims.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chair, also speaking to the Guyana Chronicle, related that the region does face a number of challenges, with the cost of transportation and an easily-disrupted transportation network being some of the major challenges. She, however, highlighted that she looks forward to working with the Regional Chairman and the rest of the region’s local administration to help bring relief to this region.
The swearing in of Pio and Francisco was delayed for a number of months due to potential councillors being diagnosed with COVID-19 and then later, because the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) sought to replace Jimmy James as its candidate on the council. The 15-member regional council is occupied by seven candidates from the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). The last seat is occupied by the LJP.