“Demand more from your regional officials” – Harmon tells Mabaruma residents
Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Sunday, urged the residents of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) and its surrounding communities to hold public officials, inclusive of those in Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (RDC/NDCs) accountable.
Public officials, the Minister stated have been elected to serve and citizens must, therefore, demand that their interests and those of the community are addressed.
Minister Harmon was at the time speaking at a community meeting held at the Mabaruma Primary School where he addressed concerns raised by residents.
He told residents that Central Government would continue to play its part in ensuring that infrastructural, social and other needs were met but noted that the Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils must also share in this responsibility.
Harmon also said that community leaders and regional and local officials must understand their roles and endeavour to function efficiently. He posited that citizens suffer the most when leaders become complacent and do not serve in the best interests of those who elected them.
“Our community leaders must face the community. If you cannot talk to your people and do things for them then they will not respect you or listen to you. You have to see people and see what they need. As a leader, you need to get on the ground and relate to people so that you can understand what is taking place. It is always important to come on the ground and get in touch with the people, with their feelings, with their understandings and what needs to be done,” Minister Harmon said.
Several residents raised concerns about Government-sponsored programmes such as the Sustainable Livelihoods and Entrepreneurial Development [SLED] Project, community training and other capacity-building opportunities, which they said is only beneficial to one section of the community.Harmon assured the aggrieved residents that the Social Protection and Public Health Ministries along with other agencies would be consulted on the approach used to select candidates for programmes and initiatives. He made it clear that all must benefit from opportunities made available by the Government.
Additionally, the Minister of State spoke of President David Granger’s Frontline Village Policy that was announced during his visit to Whitewater – also in Region One – earlier this year. The policy speaks to the establishment of military patrol bases and heightened 24-hour security by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
As such, Minister Harmon urged the residents to continue being vigilant as the country’s borders are expansive.