Buxton, East Coast villages assured of improved village roads, better healthcare, housing
Residents of Buxton and neighbouring villages on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) were Monday assured of equitable development with other villages across the country as several government Ministers visited the area.
The engagement with residents in effect foiled a planned protest by opposition activists. A small crowd gathered for that placard-bearing demonstration. However, hundreds attended the meeting at the Buxton Community Center ground.
“Today is the day to discuss development for Buxton and if we talking development, we have to do way with the detractors,” said Prime Minister Mark Phillips who led the government delegation to the village.
“This turnout sends a strong message to the detractors who never wanted this to happen,” Phillips said as he promised similar outreaches for all communities across the country.
“This will happen in every village on the East Coast, West Coast (and the) hinterland. All over Guyana… we are going out and meet you in your community,” he added.
The meeting started just after 10:00 hrs on Monday and the residents, who were given an opportunity to raise their concerns, dominated the meeting with calls for better roads, housing, and relief in wake of increased commodity prices.
They were quickly assured that the government was working to ensure that not only Buxton benefits but all communities on the East Coast were also promised benefits from a slew of projects across sectors.
“We cannot assume that the government is partisan… we have to reject the notion that because you didn’t vote for the government then the government is not for you,” Attorney General and Parliamentary representative for the area Anil Nandlall said.
Speaking to the predominantly Afro-Guyanese gathering in a village which traditionally supports the opposition, Nandlall stated: “We are here because we are for Buxtonians as every Guyanese in every community.”
With respect to healthcare, subject Minister Dr. Frank Anthony reminded the gathering that the country was now exploiting its oil and gas resources to improve standards and expand services.
In his own words, “that can take the country to another level.”
To this end, Dr. Anthony said construction will soon begin on a regional hospital and a diabetic center along the East Coast
Additionally, a new children’s hospital will soon be constructed.
Buxtonians made repeated requests for roads to be done across the villages but among them was a specific request for attention to be given to the construction of an all-weather access road into the backlands.
On resident said this will not only facilitate easier access from the farms to the markets but it will also open up ancestral lands for which many Buxtonians have ownership.
Both Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill and Minister of Local Government and Regional Development assured that these road rehabilitations and extensions will be done in short order.
In so doing, they have promised job opportunities for locals and contractors from the area bidding for government contracts.
“We are going to spend some $2 billion in villages along the East Coast and we have advertised and are calling for contractors.
“As I said before you can’t eat roads but roads can make you eat,” Edghill said.
The issue of housing was not an escapable one with Housing Minister Collin Croal advising that the Ministry currently has 83, 000 pending applications, up from the 70, 000 he reached when he took over the Ministry in 2020.
Notwithstanding, he said persons on the East Coast were given 2, 6000 land allocations in the last 18 months as the government continues to work towards its goal of 50, 000 house lots by 2025.
To achieve this, he said thousands of acres would soon be made available from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuC0P) to be used to support this housing drive.
Meanwhile, there were on-the-spot surprises which included scholarships and the delivery of sporting gears.
Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr. delivered several items on Monday including a lawn mower for the field.
“Within two weeks a team at ministry and basketball players here will work on a community project to install together.”