Declaring that all is not well in Region 10, the district’s leaders, including the Regional Chairman Deron Adams, railed into the Government this morning over the exclusion of a number of major regional projects from the National Budget including the proposed construction of the $660M Regional Administration Office and the new Wismar-Mackenzie Bridge across the Demerara River.
Speaking at a joint press conference with other regional leaders this morning, the Regional Chairman said the 2023 Budget represents another year of imposition of projects not proposed by the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) at the expense of the removal and non-approval of projects requested by the Council on behalf of the people.
With the Regional Administration Office on Republic Avenue, Linden constantly flooded, and sewage backing up and overflowing into the office spaces, the Council hoped that the Government would have set aside funds for the construction of a new building. But Mr Adams said though the existing building is unsafe, and pose serious electrical and fire hazards, the Government has excluded the project, despite giving an earlier commitment.
“Staff have to be working in the midst of faeces and urine and water. Every day there is a seepage of water into the Stores Department, damaging several of the documents and stuff that were procured for schools. And so, we registered our concerns as it relates to the need for this building,” the Regional Chairman said.
Mr Adams said the refusal of the government to pursue the completion of a new building for the RDC speaks volumes of the Administration’s disregard and lack of care for people.
According to him, the Government has no respect for the Constitution which empowers local organs to chart their own path.
“Over the past three years, and it has intensified this year, Central Government has been largely ignoring the representation that was made by the elected component of the Council and determining their own priorities,” he said.
Mr. Adams also complained bitterly about the state of a number of the roads in the region, which despite being built in recent times, are in a state of disrepair.
It was noted too that sections of Linden are facing severe water problems and the matter is being ignored.
He said to compound the situation, instead of addressing the real issues plaguing the people of Region 10, the Government chose to mislead the National Assembly on projects on going in the district.
“A visible and irrefutable case in point is the Minister of Finance’s claim, at item 4.162 in his budget presentation that the government has quote, “completed the synthetic tracks in Regions 6 and 10.” This could not be further from the truth, since our constituents have clamored for the continuation of the project to complete our synthetic track for the past three years, to no avail. As of today, January 25, 2023, the synthetic track at Linden remains incomplete and unavailable to the athletes in Linden and Region 10,” the Regional Chairman told reporters.
It is unclear what percentage of the track has been completed.
Mr Adams said though the region has won the National School’s Athletics championships more times than any other Region, it is now without even the use of the Mackenzie Sports Club, which has been the traditional preparation arena.
“One would have thought that it would make sense to complete the track before embarking on improvements to the Mackenzie Sports Club so that an alternate venue would be available, but this type of reasoned thinking either escapes this government, or this situation is deliberately engineered to derail the fortunes of sports in Region 10 in 2023,” he said.
In the area of Agriculture, Mr Adams said the Government did not approve the required funding for agriculture development for farmers operating in Kwakwani and along the Berbice River.
Weighing in on the issue of agriculture, the Regional Vice Chairman, Mark Goring also complained about the lack of funding.
“We haven’t seen any allocation for the continuation of the Millie’s Hide Out Road that links the Berbice River Village of Sand Hill and others to Linden, opening up farm lands for small, medium and large scale farming. The $200M that was allocated for continuation for the Tacama Trail will directly benefit the five companies that the President brought together for the corn and soya bean project [but] will not benefit the small farmers holistically,” he said.
But while admitting that the project is a welcomed one, he said the exclusion of funds from the budget for the acquisition of a ferry to transport the farmers’ crops is worrying.
The Region 10 Administrative Council is one of three regional councils with an APNU+AFC majority. The Opposition has complained about the lack of resources being channeled to those regions.