Hinterland will have same benefits as coastland – President Ali

– says over $1B expended on several Govt initiatives in Region 9

President Dr Irfaan Ali has assured residents of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) that his administration would ensure they receive the same benefits as citizens who live on the coastland.
During a community meeting with residents of Yupukari and surrounding satellite villages, President Ali said funds are currently being spent on developing the infrastructure in the region.

President Ali and several Government Ministers arriving in Yupukari

“Our primary objective is to ensure the lives of all the people of our country are improved. And whatever benefits on the coastland must be available for you, and we will ensure you too benefit,” he promised.
The President told residents that he and members of his Cabinet were there to lend assistance. “Today we are here to listen to you, to listen to your concerns, to listen to your ideas, to listen to what issues you might be facing, so that we could work with you in finding solutions,” he declared

Rebuilding infrastructure
President Ali explained that, this year, the region would see a rebuilding of its infrastructure, and the Government would spend $3.7b on hinterland roads and bridges, which would open up new communities and farmlands.
With respect to the road project, the Head of State, at opening of the Rupununi Rodeo, had related that the contract has already been awarded for the rebuilding of all bridges along the Linden- to-Lethem Road to meet international concrete standards.
Additionally, the contract has been signed for the paving of the highway from Linden to Mabura Hill, and according to President Ali, Government is exploring the different formula to have the bridge completed and the road paved all the way into Lethem.

Residents at the meeting

Further, he disclosed to the residents that Government would install 30,000 solar panel units in several hinterland communities.
“Every single household will have access to the solar panels and the additional auxiliary…you deserve it; you deserve the same development, the same opportunities [like the coastland].”
Ali assured that Government would set aside resources for the development of sporting facilities, so that young people can have a chance to enhance their skills.

“We’re on a journey to build a Guyana in which every single citizen, every single household, must experience prosperity.”

Investment in the Region
President Ali said that the Government has spent a historic amount of money in the region, including $197 million in COVID-19 cash grant, which benefited more than 7800 households; $604 million in increase in old-age pension for the 1800 recipients, and $235 million in public assistance for 1400 residents.
The President stated that the Government has also invested in training 237 persons, 70 per cent of which were women. Of the lot, more than 60 were given grants to start their own businesses.
Additionally, to ensure that children have equal access to education, he noted, over $50 million has been expended on textbooks for more than 7400 children in 65 schools around the region.

Committed to meeting demands
Meanwhile, residents took the opportunity to register their concerns and made suggestions. One suggestion made was for the development of a poultry farm in the community. On this note, the President pointed out that if, collectively, the residents are serious about the initiative and would help build the facility, it could be stocked with 400 chicks within two weeks.
Key among the concerns raised was the lack of teachers and teaching assistants in the communities. To remedy this, the President has said that within a month, qualified persons would be registered for the teaching programme, to increase the pool in primary schools. In addition to this, five qualified persons would be employed as teaching assistants in the coming weeks.
President Ali has also committed to ensuring that a freezer with solar power supplies would soon be provided to the community.