Residents of Mocha Arcadia and surrounding sections of the East Bank Demerara (EBD) community will be benefiting from major infrastructural upgrades – especially its roadways – to the tune of almost $200 million.
This was revealed during an official visit by President Dr Irfaan Ali, who commissioned the newly rehabilitated Burnham Boulevard in Mocha on Sunday. A resident had written the Head of State informing him of the deplorable state of the roads in the community, especially during the rainy season.
Months later, tenders were issued and a contractor selected to rebuild Burnham Boulevard, which had not been upgraded for decades. This project cost $59 million.
President Ali joined pupils from the Mocha Primary School to declare the upgraded road after which he had an outreach with residents, who were informed of additionally works to be carried out in the community.
In fact, two contracts were signed for road rehabilitation in the area. The first contract was for upgrades to the Barnwell North Road to the tune of $46.2 million for over 400 meters of works. Another contract, valued $49.1 million was also signed on Sunday for 400 meters of Cemetery Road, which is an extension of Burnham Boulevard, to be upgraded to concrete road.
“So, together with those two [contracts] and Burnham Boulevard and Grace Avenue that we just repaved as well, it’s about $192 million that we’ve put into the community so far. So, we continue to work with you… [But] all I’m asking is that we care the road,” Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, stated.
Indar, who was among several Cabinet Ministers and other Government officials joining the Head of State on the visit, further indicated that works for the two road upgrades will commence soon and he encouraged the contractors to ensure that they source services and resources such as labour from within the community.
Additionally, during the engagement with the President and his team, Mocha residents also asked for upgrades to the currently deplorable Section B Road.
In response, President Ali assured that that a team of engineers will be sent to the village to conduct an assessment. “They’ll give us a report and once that report comes in, we’ll see to have some of those roads included in the new budgetary cycle [next year],” he stated.
The Guyanese leader also promised concerned residents that his Government will work on having street lights installed in the community. In fact, he related that as soon as in two weeks’ time, they will see new lights along the roads to enhance security.
Moreover, the Head of State outlined that Culture Youth and Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr, who was also present at the outreach on Sunday, will return to Mocha with his technical team to assess the playground at the Mocha Primary School.
“We are going to start working on this ground within six weeks or less,” the President committed after a teacher expressed the hope of using the facility for the upcoming school sports. This, it was further explained, will also benefit the community sport teams.
Teachers of the primary school, where Sunday’s outreach was held, also highlighted a number of issues which were addressed on the spot by the Head of State, who promised to provide electronic fans and two flatscreen smart TVs. He also said that a team from the Office of the Prime Minister will be dispatched to the school to fix the internet service there as well as another team from the Education Ministry to explore expanding the building and also make provisions for students with disabilities as well as increasing staff.
In addition to infrastructural upgrades, President Ali also reassured residents that Government will be addressing their land titling concerns. He pointed out there are currently some 150 titles for land that are being processed. The plan and an occupational survey for these have already been completed, he noted.
“Now that the plan and occupational surveys are completed, we have to now do the adjustments to fences and palls. Once that is completed, we are working to have these 150 households or pieces of land get the title before the end of the year,” the Guyanese leader stated.
He also addressed agricultural issues as well as drainage and irrigation concerns. The Head of State informed Mocha residents that Government is working on the development of 100 acres of land for the area.
In the same breath, however, he outlined that the farmers in the community need to change the way they do things.
“We have to also rethink our agricultural strategy. We have to use science, we have to use research, we have to use the new forms of agricultural technology that will give us higher yields with less land. Sometimes we love to know we own large plots of land, but the new form of agriculture is higher yields even with less land. In that way, we get more people involved [and] we get more young people involved.”
“So, agriculture is going to be a main area for economic activity here. We are going to work on a strategic food production plan for you in this community,” the President disclosed.
To this end, the Head of State said that he will approach Demerara Bank, which has been offering low-interest loans with no collateral to farmers in certain areas across the country, to extend this initiative to Mocha Arcadia.
According to President Ali, these and other initiative being rolled out by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration are not only geared towards ensuring the lives of all Guyanese improve but align with his “One Guyana” mantra.
On this note, he urged persons to not be swayed by negative influence especially by political players.
“I am working with everyone… [and] most importantly, the people are coming along with me on this journey. I am not going to let any bureaucracy anywhere in this country stop me from bringing the people along with me. No bureaucracy, nowhere will stop me. I will go, I will target and I will approach the people and I will bring the people and lift them up and lead them because the people of this country require leadership, the people of this country want us lead and we are going to lead with the people, that is what we are going lead with the people.”
“Leave the politics out of this. Let the people work with us on the development of the people,” the President declared in response to reports of the Opposition calling on residents to boycott the meeting with him. (G8)