-gov’t applauded for fulfilling promises
THE $39.5M project which ended with the restoration of Owen and McDougal Streets in Kitty, has been hailed as “a show of humane action” by a longstanding resident of Owen Street, who gave his name as “Mr Parboo”. The elderly man voiced this opinion during a ceremony held in Owen Street for the commissioning of the road. “Today, we are about to witness the reopening of Owen Street, which was (left) to deteriorate so much, with the [City] Council doing nothing about it but receiving taxes only. This here is a show of humane action. It shows that no one, as the manifesto says, no one will be left out,” the elderly man said to the small gathering. The repaired roads, Owen and McDougall Streets, had been in a deplorable state for over a decade, filling up with water during the rainy season, and causing costly damages to vehicles passing through the area and major inconveniences to residents who were forced to park their vehicles at the end of the street. “Today, I am proud that Owen Street has been redone. This was done in 1994, during the PPP term of office, and it was left to deteriorate. The people of Owen Street have to understand that this costs a lot of money, and it must be protected, it must be taken care of,” Mr. Parboo said. He expressed well wishes for the government, and noted that the Irfaan Ali-led administration is fulfilling their promises, which he sees as something to be lauded. “As Irfaan Ali, the President in office, has promised on the election trail, no one will be left out [sic]. And according to the promises of the manifesto, all is being fulfilled. It’s slow, but it’s sure. Thank you very much,” he concluded.
CYCLE OF DEVELOPMENT
While the road project is a significant one, and brings a much-needed service to residents of the community, while accommodating a comfortable means of living, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, highlighted that the Owen-McDougall Street project is only one in a series of road repairs and restoration projects executed by the Ministry of Public Works since the current administration took office on August 2, 2020.
He stated that there are currently many other issues, particularly road issues, which need to be addressed, as there has been a large number of road-repair issues that have been raised.
“We have a number of roads that have already been completed; some early this year, some two weeks ago, some last month, and while we are completing a number of these roads, which were financed through the 2020 budget, we have now gone on to a number of other roads, along with major community roads, from the 2021 budget, continuing that cycle of development and bringing services to the people of Guyana,” the minister stated.
He reinforced the importance of catering to the needs of all Guyanese, regardless of their class, area of residence or similar social strata, but observed that the system inherited by this government was not reflective of this sentiment.
“The people in this community felt neglected, as if they were second class, and that they were not counted like other citizens. But that is the nature of what we inherited. That feeling of hopelessness, neglect, and services and goods being given in a discriminatory manner.
“When we came into office… and I met with my team at the ministry of public works, one of the first things I told them as it relates to roads is, ‘We’re not only building roads for show; the front street and main street, where everybody could see and clap. We have to get to the backstreets, where the people have not been served. We have to get to those areas where there is that feeling of neglect. We have to right the wrongs’. Owen and McDougall Street was just one in a series that needed to be addressed,” Edghill expressed.
The minister further detailed that he and his engineers and technical teams have engaged the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, and travelled across the country, having every NDC and municipality identify areas or streets of priority to be addressed and repaired.
“So, I’m showing you two things: one, it’s not an armchair approach, and two, a process of consultation, ensuring that the needs of the people are adequately addressed,” he said.
The minister revealed that between the current date and July 31, the repairs to some 20 roads will be coming to a close. These repairs commenced under the current administration.
The Owen Street-McDougall road project was completed by XL Engineering, whose contractor, Zahir Khan, stated: “I stand here today, pleased to say that XL Engineering has delivered a quality project for the residents of Owen Street, where ‘value for money’ was represented at its highest.”
He thanked the Ministry of Public Works, and the Government of Guyana as a whole for affording XL the opportunity to make a contribution to the community he (Khan) grew up in. He also expressed appreciation to the members of his family, his organisation and associates for their contributions. His son, Zakariyya Khan, later cut the ribbon to commission the roads for use.
Chief Roads and Bridges Engineer within the Ministry of Public Works, Ron Rahaman; Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud, and two councillors were also present at the event.