The construction of the $82 million stelling at Fort Island, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) is expected to spur economic activity. This is the view expressed by healthcare worker and resident of the Island, Pretty Debideen.
Ms. Debideen made those remarks after Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, made a site visit on Thursday to check on the progress of the works. The resident said farming and fishing are the main economic activities on the small Island of 95 persons and over 200 when you include persons from the catchment areas.
She explained that since the start of the pandemic, business is slow. “We used to have persons selling whatsoever they planted like the fruits, vegetables and when tourist come, they would support the community,” Ms. Debideen stated.
She said with the construction of the stelling, once persons are adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines, businesses will restart.
“When the stelling is done, persons can go out there and go sell at the stelling and they get a daily income than before got to be sitting inside and do nothing. When the stelling build and if the ferry will be landing here, it would encourage more tourism. Persons would take the ferry to come here and whatever we have to sell here, you will showcase it to get it sell.
“The stelling was the backbone of Fort Island years ago where all the residents used to go out there and when the ferry stop you used to get your cow milk and boil corn and that is what I want to bring back since we will be having a new stelling,” she said.
Additionally, several persons from the island are hired to work in the construction phase of the project. Minister Edghill said the Fort Island Stelling is a new capital project which was signed over a month ago. The project is being undertaken by IB Contracting Services.
“The demolition of the dilapidated infrastructure is already in progress and the accumulation and assembling of piles for piledriving. So that is moving apace. We want to be able to get that project completed by December 15,” Minister Edghill stated.
The Minister also visited other stellings including Bartica in Region Seven and Leguan in Region Three.