— through short and long-term projects, says Senior Finance Minister
SENIOR MINISTER in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said government will invest in several long-term projects that will significantly transform Region Six.
He was at the time addressing members of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce at the City Inn Hotel in Line Path, Corriverton, on Sunday.
Dr. Singh, while fielding questions, noted that there are several short-term solutions that will be implemented that will see relief to the residents, such as the fixing/patching of the potholes on the Corentyne Highway as well as construction of new housing schemes.
He, however, stated that there are other projects that are being looked at such as the Corentyne River Bridge, the upgrading of the Corentyne Highway, building of Port Berbice, and the upgrading of the health facilities that will have a massive impact on the local economy and ultimately the lives of the Region Six residents.
“In addition to the very short-term intervention we are dealing with to address issues that require immediate attention, like fixing the highway or fixing the hydrant or developing new housing schemes etc., we are also looking down the road and are taking steps already to invest in a number of initiatives that will see a significant transformation in Region Six, in particular, and some I’ve mentioned already — the Corentyne River Bridge — and you can imagine what that will mean to business in Corriverton. The fact that you will have thousands of people travelling back and forth, that in itself creates and stimulates tremendous business activity,” he said.
As part of the expected increase in traffic from the Corentyne River Bridge, Dr. Singh stated that options are being explored to upgrade, and, where possible, widen the main thoroughfare from New Amsterdam to Corriverton. He however cautioned that this would not happen overnight but did promise to fix the several existing potholes that commuters have to dodge as they drive along the roadways. In fact, the minister assured that his staff had already sent the list of areas to be fixed to the Ministry of Public Works and action will be taken soon to have them fixed.
Another major project identified by the senior minister is a deep water harbour at the mouth of the Berbice River that will see thousands of jobs being created.
“We are already actively working on the development of port Berbice at the mouth of the Berbice River. That is indeed a major development, because when you have a major port constructed there, that will immediately lift and directly create probably 1,000 jobs, but, if you think about it, all the services that come into port operation will also immediately create business opportunities for contractors and sub-contractors and I don’t only mean construction contractors but contractors providing goods to support the operation of a major port at the mouth of the Berbice River.”
Further, Dr. Singh stated that options were being explored to improve the state of health delivery in the region which has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons.
“We are looking at the investments that are needed to improve social services as well, in particular the hospitals. We are well aware of the shortcomings of the hospitals. I know you would have had some challenges with the public health care facilities in the region. The region has also been in the news, not in a positive light, regarding some incidents at the New Amsterdam Hospital which are absolutely tragic.
So we recognise that the public health care facilities are in need of significant upgrade and I can tell you we are actively looking at options for either a major upgrade or construction of a new medical facility in Region Six which will deliver good, quality and efficient health care, not just the construction of the facility but also addressing service quality issues such as staffing and management of the centre etc. because we want people to be able to access good and quality health care. These things matter to the people.”
Directly targeting youths, the Senior Minister explained that attention will be placed on ICT to bring jobs to the region and to scale up technical and vocational training.
Dr. Singh and his team engaged the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development, The Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and The Upper Corentyne Chambers of Commerce, on Sunday, during a two-day visit to the region.