Over 1,700 issues resolved in two days at Region Three outreach
President Dr. Irfaan Ali and other officials at Friday’s press conference
President Dr. Irfaan Ali and other officials at Friday’s press conference

–President Ali promises 10, 000 house lots by year end, other housing initiatives

AS the Office of the President’s two-day outreach in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) wrapped up on Friday afternoon, it was disclosed that over 1,700 persons had their issues resolved, and efforts were made address many more.

Issues resolved included a century-long case involving a land situation at Leonora Pasture, which was remedied within 24 hours of being raised, and resulted in several persons receiving titles to the land they are occupying.

Almost 2,000 of the remaining cases were still in the process of being resolved up to late yesterday afternoon. 187 were referred to other agencies, 275 persons were unreachable when follow-up contact was made, and 469 issues were still being followed up.

These statistics were shared by President Dr. Irfaan Ali during a press conference on Friday at the National Track and Field Stadium at Leonora, where the second outreach of its kind was held.

The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) implemented an electronic system that recorded all of the issues being raised, the resolutions, and other data in real-time monitoring.

The President explained that the monitoring system played an important role in measuring the performance of the event, and ensuring that efforts to resolve people’s problems would continue after the event had ended.

The outreach, which is one in a series that will be done in each of the administrative regions, was crafted as a means for the government to get on the ground to get a firsthand understanding of the challenges facing residents in various communities, and to listen to complaints with a view to crafting judicious policies and programmes, and finding timely solutions.

“This exercise allows us to understand the priorities of communities; the priorities of the region, so that when we develop our budgetary framework in the new year, we will be able to understand in a firsthand manner from the people directly what their priorities are, and what our interests should be,” the President noted.

Following the close of the outreach on Friday, a number of follow-up activities will now be carried out in communities all across the region.

The outreach was also well attended by the region’s business community, and the President expressed his happiness with the eagerness displayed by the business community to capitalise on the economic boom taking place in the region.

“What I have seen is the confidence in the development of this region, triggering a lot of investment proposals, a lot of business interests… In terms of business, there are many proposals that are brought to us from aquaculture, the hydroponics, large-scale agriculture, hotels, apartments, real estate on the whole, supermarkets, small manufacturing facility. A lot of proposals that came to us that we were able to pass to the Go-Invest investors. The Minister of Finance is also following up on a lot of this,” the President explained.

Thousands of persons raised various issues at the Office of the President’s two-day outreach in Region Three (Delano Williams photos)

As has been customary at government outreaches, matters involving the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) dominated issues and concerns among the residents visiting the event.

President Ali explained that the proliferation of housing matters is largely due to the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC)’s lack of action for the five years they held office.

He said that since its return to office in 2020, the PPP/C government has been working vigorously to rectify this.

“In this region alone, we have put in infrastructure to bring into being more than 10,000 new lots by the end of this year; we are launching the low-income housing programme, and young professional in addition to that,” the President related.

He said that he felt encouraged by the appetite for housing in the region.

“What is interesting is a number of young persons, most of those who came forward in the housing programme and are applying are less than 25 years old; and that is a tremendous, tremendous accomplishment. When this government came into office in 1992, this region was heavily populated with squatting. Every single community had a major squatter settlement, and we have been able to regularise those communities, expand housing. And now creating great momentum in the socioeconomic advancement of this region,” the President noted.

As it pertains to NIS, a lot of the issues were raised by present and former employees of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). The President commended the NIS for rising to the occasion, and heeding the call to do more in resolving the issues of Guyanese.

It was disclosed that over the past two-and-a half years, the NIS has resolved over 6,000 matters that were brought to its attention.

“That is a major accomplishment,” the President added.

A number of community-related issues were also brought up during the outreach, and the President, during the press conference, commended several of the agencies that were present at the event.

“The Ministry of Local Government is also working on many community issues, whether it is drainage. We dealt with a number of agricultural issues. The region, the GOAL scholarship programme, the Ministry of Education, all of these agents, the Ministry of Health, they did tremendous work,” President Ali noted.

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