Over 1500 residents of Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara (WCD) will now have access to a $7.7 million heavy-duty bridge, which was built through a partnership between the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Engineering Corps.
Minister Nigel Dharamlall said the collaboration has resulted in a significant reduction in the cost of the project.
“About 70 per cent of the original cost of the project and that is quite significant to the value for money approach that our Government has been pursuing and we expect that this is one of the approaches the public works departments and other departments…that they will heavily place value for money.”
The Regional Administration had estimated the project at some $10.5 million. Minister Dharamlall said collaborations like the one with the GDF will see the Government conducting more infrastructural works countrywide.
The Minister encouraged residents to care and maintain the bridge as it is one of many initiatives that will be undertaken to boost the community’s development.
Meanwhile, Brigadier Gary Beaton, Project Engineer of the Engineering Corps, said he was proud of the project built by young, skilled ranks who are committed to the Government’s vision of improving the lives of Guyanese, especially at the community level.
“This significant yet simple ceremony marks the fulfilment of duty which allows us to move onto another task as conceptualised by His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief President [Dr. Mohamed Irfaan] Ali. The execution of this project allows the unit to practice what they trained for. It is also giving them the platform to bond with the different communities in Guyana,” he said.
Ms. Selima Ali, who has been residing in the community for over 40 years, told DPI that despite requests to the previous Government, residents were forced to make use of an almost impassable bridge.
“When the other Government was in power there was no help. People asked and begged going in circle, you know to nail a piece of board but this was residents doing this by putting a board to cover the hole so that the kids wouldn’t fall in and, eventually the PPP/C Government took over and they make the resident come out, they got so much support and now this that we have achieved,” she said.
Another resident, Mr. Awad Williams said the new bridge, “is a great progress (for the community) and by doing this, it is long term than the wooden bridge that we had which broke about three times.”
Regional Chairman, Mr. Sheik Ayube and Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Jagnarine Somwaru also attended the commissioning ceremony.
Last year, President Ali charged the GDF to play a greater role at the community level to advance the country’s development.