The deplorable state of the roads leading into Region Nine (Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo) has made it well nigh impossible to get a timely supply of fuel into the Lethem area, and this has led to a total shutdown of gas stations there.
Sources within the Region say the Macedo and Lammy fuel stations have been
without fuel for now several days, while the Takutu Gas Station sold its last bit of fuel on Friday.
This publication has been reliably informed that the Regional Administration is aware of the situation but is making no intervention.
This shortage causes a major loss of revenue for the Region, since vehicle owners are going over to neighbouring Brazil to fuel up.
However, efforts to contact Regional Chairman Brian Allicock and Regional Executive Officer Kerwin Ward proved futile.
Lethem residents and minibus operators plying the Lethem–Georgetown route
have been calling on the authorities to have the roads repaired. The operators are complaining about the deplorable state of the road, and are contending that it is plagued with extraordinarily large potholes and broken and washed away bridges.
The Public Infrastructure Ministry (MPI) had announced at the end of January that construction of the first phase of the Linden-Lethem Road — from Linden to Mabura — was expected to commence without a hitch, and that the MPI would be working closely with the UK Government to bring the project to a successful end. Now, some four months later, the project is yet to begin.
The first phase of the project covers approximately 122.5 kilometres of road from Linden, and construction of a bridge across the Essequibo River at the Kurupukari Crossing. The Government, as a part of a collaborative effort with the UK Government, is seeking to engage a multi-discipline and transport sector-experienced consulting firm to assist in the preparation of a two-component capital project.
The components for this capital project are the upgrade of approximately 122.5 km of road between Linden and Mabura Hill (including drainage), and construction of a new single- or dual-lane fixed bridge across the Essequibo River at the Kurupukari ferry crossing, which is approximately 600 metres long.
While the proposed road upgrade applies only to one section of the Linden-Lethem road, the capital works on the remaining 331.5km of the laterite road will be undertaken through funding from other sources.
The remaining capital works would fall under additional phases, and the MPI has disclosed that it has already engaged the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) on possible funding for the stretch of road between Mabura Hill and Lethem.
During the 2017 Budget presentation, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, speaking about “infrastructure for integration”, had noted that an infrastructure network that can support rapid economic development requires huge capital investment.
“This is especially true of Guyana, with its sparsely populated town and village centres scattered over its 214,970 square kilometres,” he had posited.
Jordan had noted that Government had budgeted some $37.2 billion to narrow the infrastructure deficit in the country, while at the same time pursuing other financing options, including Public-Private Partnerships (P3s), for the large-scale transformative projects.