52/74 NDC to soon operate separately

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Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall

The 52/74 Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) will be separated into two separate entities, according to Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall.

He made the announcement while meeting with farmers on the Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), on Saturday.

The NDC is the largest of the seventy NDCs in the country and consists of twenty-five villages, including Number Naught.

The Minister pointed out that local authorities were having difficulties managing the affairs of the NDC and as such, a decision was taken to establish separate offices.

However, Dharamlall said that there have been numerous complaints coming from the NDC. “I am amazed… Like it is another part of the world, the way people in this NDC operate; everybody is fighting each other down.”

He pointed out that one of the major issues affecting the smooth management of the NDC is the conflict between cattle owners and rice farmers.

Many rice farmers are themselves cattle farmers. It was reported that rice farmers have repeatedly been accusing the cattle owners of deliberately allowing their animals to feast on their crops and on the other hand, the cattle owners have accused the rice farmers of impounding their animals.

Currently, two persons are before the courts following an altercation between two farmers which resulted in bloodshed.

“Some of the cultivation areas are in the midst of the cattle area or cattle in the midst of cultivation. At some point we have to find common ground,” Dharamlall noted.

He explained that the area will be zoned so there are designated areas for animals and those for rice and other crops.

Meanwhile, one resident, Krissondat Persaud, questioned the reason residents were not consulted before the decision was made to split the NDC and expressed concern that the two new NDCs will not be treated equally by the Government, especially with its annual subvention.

However, Minister Dharamlall assured that will not happen. “Our Government works in an equitable way, so what goes for you will also go for them and what goes for them will also go for you.” He noted that all of the NDCs in the country are being treated equally.