Durban Backlands North is an unregulated community in the city of Georgetown, and on Saturday it received potable water for the first time since the 1960s.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon commissioned 29 standpipes in the community and used the opportunity to reiterate the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all Guyanese are afforded services they deserve.
“For other people, this might not mean anything but for you, who are having water being delivered to your homestead for the first time in so many years, this is the Government bringing to you, public services and the good life. Water is a right. It is no longer a privilege, it is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
“It is a human right and so this level to which we have actually put potable water is something which the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has been working very hard to ensure that we can satisfy that requirement all over Guyana,” Minister Harmon said.
It was explained that since the community is not yet regularised, pipes cannot be run to individual homes, however, Minister Harmon stated that he has engaged the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) and other related Ministries and agencies to ensure that some work is done in the community to make life easier for the residents.
“This is the beginning. We need to get water into your homes but to get water into your homes, we have to regularise this community so that we can have water taken directly to your homes; proper address, lights and every other amenity which is a part of living in Georgetown and I have asked the CHPA to pay attention to this.
“We cannot have people living in the city and living in an unregulated community. It cannot work. It is a challenge which I have thrown out. Water is just the first step and your Government will continue to deliver to the people of this community.”
Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charles, in his remarks, said that the agency would be working to ensure that no Guyanese is left behind when it comes to access to potable water.
Meanwhile, one resident, Ms. Anandrea said she has been living in the area for the past four years but from what she has been told, her fellow residents have been without water for as much as 40 years.
“Let me tell you, right now I am so, so happy. I have been here for four years and no water much less these people who have lived here for so long. I want to say thank you to the Government and to the Guyana Water Authority for making this happen for us. It really means a lot to us and will bring convenience to our homes,” she said. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)