Home Letters Govt praised for infrastructure development
My memory of readings on economic development when I did doctoral studies in economics in the 1980s is the infrastructure sector is/was a key driver for the development of any economy. This sector, along with agriculture, was highly responsible for propelling the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, the Soviet Union, Argentina, Brazil, among other countries, overall development. Australia, New Zealand, and the US became first-world countries through agriculture and infrastructure development. Singapore became first-world through trade and infrastructure, among other sectoral development. Infrastructure and agriculture, in addition to I-Tech, construction, among other sectors, are now driving India’s economy. The present PPP Administration has wisely initiated major infrastructure policies, which along with agriculture, farming, and mining, among other sectors, would drive development.
I had the privilege of travelling around the country, along the coast and some interior sections. I observed massive infrastructure work being undertaken including in the interior that was badly neglected by previous Administrations. As I experienced in the vehicle, the trails were extremely rough; I got bounced around frequently, hitting my head on the roof of the vehicle. One can suffer serious injuries just sitting and travelling in a vehicle. Vehicles could overturn or skid and end up at the bottom of a ravine or hill, resulting in loss of life and or broken limbs. Fortunately, sections of the trails were being smoothened for a less rough ride. The trails into the interior are being graded to make them passable. Work seems to be moving apace. For years, the trails posed challenges for trucks (laden with goods, logs, stones, sand, minerals, etc) and passenger vehicles. Photos showed some fastened in the quicksand or mud while others toppled; lives were lost and limbs broken. Vehicles were also destroyed with losses in the billions of Guyana dollars to private developers. There is a commitment from Government of paving the road within a few years.
My interactions with Indigenous people and the business community in the interior revealed that the trails were neglected under the previous regime. They are very pleased that there is a change in Administration and that the present Government is addressing their concerns. Business and hinterland life was severely affected over impassable trails and neglect of people who dwell in the outlying areas. Business has taken a toll over the last five years, made worse by the pandemic. (Some businesses complained that Government officials and Ministers of the preceding regime took goods, ate in their restaurants on credit, and even filled up the gas tanks of vehicles and never paid. They could not complain out of fear of victimisation or assault by goons. Such behaviour is unconscionable given the difficulty of life in the interior among the Indigenous people. Those Government individuals – former Ministers – are uncaring and shameless.) The hinterland people praise President Ali Government for looking into their complaints of neglect and marginalisation. They applaud the Government for holding outreaches in their communities. Such outreaches give the people a chance to voice their complaints to the Ministers and other Government officials. President Ali is lauded for taking Government to the people in the various regions around the country in the rural and hinterland communities. Government gets almost 100 per cent positive rating on this initiative of President Ali to take Cabinet to the people.
As the public has noted, the Ministry of Infrastructure is on the job. Those who I interacted with applauded the Government for making a conscientious effort to address the problems experienced in the interior and in the rural areas. They are pleased with the work of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, showering accolades on Ministers Bishop Edghill and Deodat Indar. Indar scores very high on favourability ratings for his public engagements and groundwork. His work ethic is praised. Respondents in a poll I conducted say he is among a few Ministers who have been very active on the ground, listening to complaints and concerns of the public. They say he listens and acts. Minister Indar is commended for his engagement with the public and delivery of promises to rehabilitate roads, clean drains, and electrify streets and recreation grounds. People say the Ministry promptly attempts to resolve their complaints.