Georgetown, Guyana – (November 5, 2017) As the Government of Guyana continues its drive to ensure that sustainable, family oriented communities are created across Guyana, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, said that several programmes in the areas of housing, water and infrastructural upgrades in the Mocha/ Arcadia community have commenced and that these are aimed at significantly improving the lives of the residents residing there.
Minister Harmon made these remarks during an outreach at the Mocha Secondary School, today, where he was accompanied by Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ms. Simona Broomes, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ms. Annette Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), Mr. Lelon Saul, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van West Charles and Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Mr. Trevor Benn.
The State Minister noted that the programme of work, which will include a process of regularisation of land and property issues, has a specific aim of creating communities where families can grow and thrive as a unit. The Minister of State said that the granting of titles to establish rightful ownership to deserving persons will help to improve their quality of lives and the status of their communities. “You deserve it and the Government will deliver,” Minister Harmon said.
On this note, Mr. Benn, in his remarks, said that when the Government took office two years ago, the Ministry of the Presidency was inundated with calls from members of the community, who felt that they were not given a fair deal with the way lands were allocated in the community. “Since then we have been working to ensure that the residents of this community receive justice in relation to the lands previously held by their fore parents. There were 1700 acres of lands aback this village that were allocated to four persons, none of whom lived in the community and so the Government felt that this was not the right approach. We immediately took steps to cancel those leases and so those 1700 acres became available and we decided to make it available to members of this community,” he explained.
Since then 320 lots for housing and agriculture purposes and 58 larger plots strictly for agriculture purposes have been made available to the residents. Mr. Benn said that the Commission is now awaiting the outcome of a survey, which would make these lots permanently available to the residents of the community. “Within the next eight weeks we will be able to issue 50 year leases to the residents. The lots we felt had to be in the spirit of the community and knowing that this is a farming community, that was considered. And so we are going to make one acre lands available to the residents so that you can live and farm. We want to bring that spirit back and that was a mandate given to me by the President,” he noted.
The CHPA is also working to make the community one that can offer a comfortable life to the residents. Mr. Saul said that the area of Barnwell, Mocha will soon be able to access electricity as it has begun putting systems in place to begin the electrification programme. “So you will soon be able to get electricity. Further to that, the CHPA and the NDC [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] will soon go into the community and verify the unallocated house lots and the people of Mocha will be given priority for those lots. You have a playfield also and we are very interested in developing that playfield for you,” he said.
Head of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charles, in his remarks, also spoke of the developments, which will be undertaken in the community in the coming months. He noted that as the CHPA moves to regularise and development the housing sector, the company will now be looking to boost its services. “We have finished running the transmission lines and soon connection will commence. We have put a pump at the well to increase the flow to residents and we are doing some works to interconnect you with Diamond and that should be in place within the next three weeks,” Dr. Van West Charles.
Meanwhile, Minister Ferguson said that infrastructure is an important part of the country and peoples’ lives and the Government must ensure that there is a presence have proper roads and bridges to move from one location to another. To this end, she said that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has not only installed street lights along the Mocha Main road but has recently signed a contract for a G$10.7 million to effect repairs to a central bridge in the area.
Further to that, she announced that Burnham Drive and another bridge, which residents have consistently complained about, will be fixed in the new year, as it will be budgeted for in the 2018 National Budget. “Your Government has not forgotten about you. We have you. We have your back. Many years gone by, you were underprivileged but you have voted for change. We will ensure that Mocha is an improved community,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister Harmon used the opportunity to apologise to all Guyanese for being forced to witness the behaviour of the Opposition in the National Assembly, who he said conducted themselves, during President David Granger’s address to the National Assembly, in a manner that brings the country’s public offices and institutions into disrepute and disrespects the office of the President.
“The President came to the Parliament and many of you saw the guttural behaviour. We regret that behaviour that it was done in the presence of the diplomatic community, in the presence of the Chief Justice and Chancellor, the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Staff and all of the children, who were looking on. I am saying that I apologise on behalf of the Government to you. That behaviour of the PPP and I call the Protesting People in Parliament; they took our Parliamentary democracy to the lowest level. Never before have we seen a display and a demonstration like that. Never before have we seen that level of disrespect given to a Head of State and that is the tune that is being played by the PPP Bandmaster and we must condemn that kind of behaviour because that is not what we are as people and Jagdeo and his group will not define us that way,” he said.
As Minister Harmon arrived at the school, he was greeted by members of the community, who held up placards announcing their support for the Government, President David Granger and the work, which the Government is doing. The residents enthusiastically welcomed Minister Harmon and other Ministers and officials and were eager to hear from the delegation.