PPP/C Presidential Candidate takes outreach to Region 9
As Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic, Irfaan Ali continues his outreach across the country. When he interacted with residents of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), a number of concerns about their current quality of life were raised.
Ali visited 12 communities in the region, namely the town of Lethem, Annai, Tabatinga, Karasabai, Rukumuta, Tiger Pond, Potannau, Katoonarib, Sand Creek, Karaudanawa, Aishalton and Nappi.
He held various community meetings at these locations, and had one-on-one discussions with the residents, who were facing issues in all sectors of life, including health, security and education. During these interactions, he listened to the concerns of residents, who were frustrated with how their lives have changed for the worse under the Coalition Government.
They complained about promises made by the APNU+AFC Government that remained unfulfilled nearly four years after the Coalition took office. While each village had its own peculiar issues, there were certain challenges which resonated throughout the Rupununi.
A common sore point across the region is the failure of the coalition to fulfill its campaign promises regarding the Amerindian Land Titling Project. Under the previous administration, the initiative was booming, but after four years of APNU/AFC rule, not a single title has been issued.
The residents also decried the conditions of the hinterland infrastructure, which gravely affect their quality of life, particularly the roads. In fact, large scale farmers in the region complained about difficulties to get their produce out to sell because of the condition of roads and damages vehicles suffer. Those in the far-flung villages also lamented the lack of markets in the communities, which forces them to travel long distances to get sales.
Community infrastructure was also highlighted. In Sand Creek, it was mentioned that a lot of louvre panes at the dormitory building were broken, and this was brought to the attention of Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, but it has been two years now and nothing has been done.
In addition, drug shortages and unemployment are some of the other issues affecting the residents.
According to the residents, they are disgusted with the drug shortage issues plaguing the region. They disclosed that some health centres have not gotten any pharmaceutical supplies since last September. They added that when the drugs do come, which takes four to six months to arrive, they are close to expiring or have already expired.
With regard to unemployment, the residents lamented that there are no job opportunities in the region, especially for youths. They say that after finishing school, young people usually move to neighbouring Brazil Georgetown, which often diminishes the indigenous communities and does not foster development.
Ali, a former minister under the PPP/C government, assured the residents that their concerns would be addressed once the party returns to office. Ali was elected as the PPP/C presidential candidate last month, and he has since been making his rounds across the country to meet with the people on the ground.
Already he has visited and met with residents of East Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); and Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice).