— Housing Minister says situation will be addressed
RESIDENTS of the Providence Remigrant Scheme as well as those living in Phases Two and Three of the Providence Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara are calling on the relevant authorities to fix the deplorable roads in their communities.
The residents who spoke to the Guyana Chronicle said they have endured slushy streets for years, and despite their numerous inquiries, no one has told them when the roads will be fixed. The APNU+AFC Coalition when in power, the residents say, had on numerous occasions promised to fix the roads but they never did.
In an invited comment, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal said these areas are under the ministry’s work programme, and that residents should anticipate some rehabilitative work in the near future.
He explained that the government is committed to ensuring that all Guyanese across the country have access to “good roads”, and this extends to these affected communities.
This rehabilitative work, he explained, will be undertaken by the tripartite inter-ministerial committee comprising the Ministry of Public works, the Ministry of Local Government, and the Ministry of Housing and Water.
Minister Croal reminded the Guyana Chronicle that at present, the Housing Ministry’s allotted budget for 2021 is expected to cover the new housing schemes.
One resident, Beverly McKenzie told the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday that the roads in Phase Three have been in an extremely “atrocious” state. She stated that since the community was established, the residents have continuously called on the government of the day to provide them with better roads, as their current state was causing them a lot of inconvenience.
“It has been some time since these roads have been like this. The residents still are stuck with these roads with huge holes in them and all that. Last year, coming into November month, they used the ‘Bobcat’ to grade down the road with the same red sand, but with people still building, there are a lot of big trucks and so on coming in, so it continued to be destroyed,” the woman explained to this publication.
She said that at present, her three grandchildren live with her, and are constantly faced with having to travel through the extremely large puddles of water whenever it rains. The majority of the roads, she noted, have not been tarred, including the roads leading to the sole entrance and exit bridge in the community.
McKenzie highlighted that at any point of the day, each resident would have to deal with mud when making their way in or out of the community.
“I have three grandchildren; it’s very difficult to get them in and out of the community. Today all, I had to walk with a wet cloth to wipe off their feet and so when we come out. The roads are bad; they have big, big holes in them, and when the rain fall, like today, it floods with water. So I have to get these two little children walking in the grass; and anything could be in that grass. So that, in itself, is dangerous,” she said.
McKenzie noted that apart from the roads, she enjoys the community, which she described as “a nice area to live”. The woman told this publication that the community has all the other necessary amenities, including water and light.
Meanwhile, Carol Etienna, a resident of the remigrant scheme said the residents have been promised better roads, but are yet to see this promise materialised.
Etienna stated that she and her husband made a decision to return to her country of birth after residing abroad for over 30 years. She noted that she had intended to return to her homeland to enjoy her retirement, but the state of the roads has made this move “unfulfilling”.
“I love Guyana; this is my home country, but what I expected and what we are getting is very different. My husband and I, and all the other remigrants were promised so many amenities, and we haven’t gotten them, but the state of the roads here are very disappointing. I called the ministry and I told them that I am going to put on my swimsuit to swim across the street. That’s a funny statement for a person who is 70 years old, but this is how difficult it is,” said Etienna.