–more works planned for several villages in the region
WITHIN the past few months, the Government of Guyana has expended approximately $123.5 million to execute a number of road construction and rehabilitative works in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). This was according to Regional Vice-Chairman, Humace Oudit, during a recent interview with the government’s Department of Public Information (DPI). Most recently, according to Oudit, $30 million was spent to rehabilitate the access road to Golden Fleece Estate. The project saw the laying of asphaltic material on a 600-metre-long corridor, which serves in excess of 800 residents.
The road works, which lasted some six months, was executed by the Ministry of Public Works, and according to Oudit, the residents are thankful for the project, since the road has been in a deplorable condition for an extended period of time. Oudit told DPI that several reports were made over the past few years about the road’s deteriorating condition, but not much was done.
“The regional administration has been working tirelessly to address all road issues in the region, especially those that were neglected for many years and so, while the Public Works Ministry is undertaking the rehabilitation works, we will be monitoring the works to ensure quality work is provided,” Oudit said.
Similar road works were conducted along the villages of Good Hope, Cullen, Affiance, Anna Regina and Cotton Field, Essequibo.
In the coming months, bridges are also expected to be constructed in the villages of Charity, Lima Housing Scheme, Jib, Affiance and Anna Regina.
Early this month, Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, commissioned seven roads in the region. He was quoted as saying that additional upgrades would be undertaken on highways, main roads and miscellaneous roads countrywide.
Edghill told the information department that while all communities have issues with roads, the government is committed to improving the lives of its people through modernised infrastructure.
Only last week, Minister Edghill commissioned three roads in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), valuing some $31.7 million, while another four thoroughfares worth $172 million were rehabilitated and reopened in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The newly-rehabilitated roads in Region Five include the $10.6 million Health Centre Street at Bush Lot, Pump Station Street at Blairmont and Bacchus Street at Zorg-en-Hoop. The latter two were completed to the tune of $21.1 million.
In Region Six, Minister Edghill had cut the ceremonial ribbon for the spanking new $108.1 million road which serves as the first phase for the construction of the main road from Everton to Mara, East Bank Berbice. Edghill recently announced too that another $60 million has been secured to start rehabilitation works at another section of the road.
Additionally, roads were reopened at Short Man Street and John Lewis Street in Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam and Post Office Road, Vryman’s Erven, New Amsterdam. These projects were contracted to various companies and cost $63.9 million altogether.
Prior to that, some $250 million were spent to construct and upgrade 14 roads along the West Coast of Demerara, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), specifically in the communities of Uitvlugt, Tuschen, Zeelugt, Hydronie and Parika.
Added to that, some $543.6 million has been invested to upgrade several roads along the East Coast Demerara (ECD) corridor.
Information released by the government show that a total of 27 roads valued at $458.6 million were built in the Better Hope/La Bonne Intention Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) area alone, while another $88 million was spent to repair roads in the area governed by the Plaisance/Industry NDC.
In addition to providing improved road facilities, the ongoing works have also added to the creation of thousands of jobs, bringing the Dr. Irfaan Ali-led administration closer to delivering on its promise to create at least 50,000 jobs within the next five years.
During this year alone, the government has plans to expend some $172.4 billion, or 45 per cent of its $383.1 billion budget on education, public infrastructure and healthcare. Of this sum, $58.2 billion worth of planned expenditure on public infrastructure is the second largest component of the government’s fiscal programme.
On the capital side, the budget for infrastructure is $32.9 billion, or 32 per cent of the total allocation for 2021. The country’s aggregate capital provision for this year is $103 billion.
Further, the government’s total budget for road programmes is $23.7 billion, $7.9 billion of which will go specifically towards the development of community roads. Of the budgeted sum, $2.1 billion has been set aside for hinterland roads, and the rehabilitation of a number of hinterland airstrips.
Those investments, according to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in its message following the announcement of Budget 2021, provide the financial grounding for the ‘build-out’ of the country’s infrastructure, and the basis for re-starting economic growth, which would have been hindered by a protracted electoral process and the pervasive COVID-19 pandemic.