-GSA students, entrepreneurs set to benefit
SENIOR Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, on Sunday inspected the soon-to-be-opened $60 million agro-processing facility at Cotton Field in Region Two and the Abrams Zuil Secondary School, which is currently under construction.
The minister toured the two project sites as part of a three-day visit to the region . At the end of each inspection, he emphasised the tremendous benefits it will bring to residents.
The agro-processing facility is located adjacent to the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) campus at Cotton Field. Once the necessary equipment has been procured and installed, it will be opened.
Dr. Singh told members of the media that GSA students and entrepreneurs in the region will benefit immensely when the facility becomes operational.
“While GSA students in Essequibo were able to get the classroom training, when it came to the practical training they would have had to travel to Georgetown to get that in terms of seeing the agro-processing techniques. So, the construction of the facility will serve multiple purposes,” Dr. Singh said.
He said the facility will allow the school’s Essequibo students to complete their practical training in a laboratory that is equipped with dry and wet processing lines which can convert liquid products into a powdered form.
“The facility will also be available to local entrepreneurs in the region who would want to use the facility to convert their products. Entrepreneurs living in the region can be able to process and package their produce at the facility,” the minister added.
Additionally, the facility will process fresh produce into value-added products.
Dr. Singh said that the project is part of the government’s commitment to train young people for jobs in the agricultural sector. A similar agro-processing facility was constructed in Berbice.
It was explained that the project comes under the Ministry of Finance with support from the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) and is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank.
The minister was accompanied by Region Two Chairperson, Vilma De Silva; Regional Vice-Chairman Humace Oodit, Regional Executive Officer (REO), Susanna Saywack and Regional Prime Minister representative, Arnold Adams.
Meanwhile, during his visit to the school, he said that work was progressing well and that about 18 per cent of the school which cost some $585 million has been completed.
Dr. Singh said that when finished, the school will be able to accommodate 700 students.
In his comments to members of the media, he reiterated that the Government of Guyana is aiming to achieve universal access to education, whereby every single child must be able to complete secondary education.
“We want to improve the quality of education and as such modern and well equipped high schools across the country are an essential part of ensuring that we achieve the quality of success. The construction of the schools is only one part,” Dr. Singh said.
He emphasised that the government is investing heavily to raise education quality, which includes increasing the numbers of teachers accessing training.
Dr. Singh said that the Abram Zuil Secondary will be equipped with modern science and technical laboratories, which will expose learners to the various skills. The school will also promote a social environment with the construction of a cafetorium, along with a recreational space.
He used the opportunity to urge the contractor to deliver quality work and to work according to the timeline that was given to him.
Dr. Singh added that the building will serve many generations and as such good quality work in keeping with the line of specification is required.
During the morning hours, he delivered a slasher-and-fence material to the Golden Fleece Sports Club. Regional officials who were present handed over paint for painting of the pavilion.
Dr. Singh urged members of the club to ensure that they take care of the slasher and to make it available to neighbouring communities to assist with the upkeep of those grounds.
He also made a commitment through the regional administration to upgrade the sanitary facility and the surface of the ground.
One of the club’s members, Ravindra Madhoo, extended gratitude to the minister for the assistance and said that when the upgrades have been completed, many games will be hosted at the venue.
On Saturday, the minister led a team from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and was able to resolve a number of long-standing issues. On Friday, he was part of the delegation that accompanied President Irfaan Ali to a meeting with farmers at the Jaigobin Hotel. Later that day, he met with members of the region’s business community.