Berbice residents protest for water, prevents Govt Minister, other officials from traversing

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By Royan Abrams

As Minister of Public Affairs, Dawn Hastings – Williams and officials from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) made their way to re-commission a water system in Mara, East Bank Berbice earlier today, residents from Hiburry and Light Town along the East Bank of Berbice used barrels and water tanks to block the street while demanding access to potable water.

The residents even prevented media operatives from passing, claiming that they will only remove when the relevant authorities and the Minister provide them with a solid explanation.

Students were also involved in the protest

The protest included teachers and students, who held placards that stated: “we need water”, “no water no school”, “water is life”, “help help help somebody help us.”

Members of the Guyana Police Force were eventually summoned to the scene but the protesters refused to remove until they were addressed by Minister Hastings- Williams and Managing Director of GWI, Dr Richard Van West Charles.

The GWI Managing Director assured the angry protesters that he will look into their plight as soon as possible.

He told the crowd that GWI is currently trucking water into the area and plans are on stream to look after the well at Sisters Village, East Bank Berbice.

GWI’s Managing Director, Dr Van West Charles and Minister Dawn Hastings-Williams at the scene of the protest.

“We are looking at the Well at Sisters, they are other Wells that are down and we have to bring equipment to rehabilitate them and it takes time so you have to work with us, we understand the situation so we been trucking in the water and that cost a lot of money but we are still bringing it in,” Dr Van West Charles said.

He said he will work along with the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) to decide on the location of the Well. He assured residents that a solution will be in place before the first quarter of 2018 but in the meantime, GWI will continue to truck in water in the area.

Minister Hastings -Williams also assured the residents of her commitment ensuring they received potable water.“I understand your plight quite clearly, it is not you alone, Guyana is a very big country, we have a lot of communities, we found that but we don’t want to leave that legacy when we are gone, we want to ensure that we deliver water, safe potable water to your homes.”

Some residents complained that the truck would usually provide one barrel of water to each household once per month.

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