“Distressing, depressing & disheartening” – Life in the Rupununi Region

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By Fareeza Haniff

Some residents during one of the APNU meetings. [APNU Photo]
Some residents during one of the APNU meetings. [APNU Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has painted a grim picture of what life is like in the Rupununi (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) Region.

Deplorable roads and a lack of proper education are just two of the issues residents are made to face on a daily basis; nothing compared to the daily operations in the Capital City.

The main Opposition Party, led by retired Brigadier David Granger, visited the region recently with his team and with many difficulties interacted with residents and the Toshaos.

The Party believes that the Amerindian residents are being duped by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government and according to Parliamentarian, Ronald Bulkan, “It was distressing, depressing and disheartening to see the state of dependency that the PPP Civic administration has reduced Amerindian communities to and what they are subjected to.”

Following his visit to the Region, Mr Bulkan told Reporters at a news conference on Friday, January 23 that the residents are in a state where they are totally disempowered and dependent on “occasional handouts from Central Government.”

He hinted that the Amerindian leaders were instructed not to speak to APNU members when they visit; this explains why the APNU team were not greeted or welcomed during their outreach.

Similar reports were provided by APNU Parliamentarian, Dr George Norton, who explained that a female teacher did not want to reveal her name to the APNU team for fear of victimization from the PPP.

[APNU Photo]
[APNU Photo]
He said the Teacher had complained about lack of resources at the school, but instead of being assisted by government, she was threatened. According to Dr Norton, the Teacher was told by a Government Minister: “you cannot be working with the government and criticizing the government because your job would be threatened.”

Dr Norton also pointed to similar case, where a Headmaster for one of the schools in the Region complained about shortage of books, pens and pencils.

“He said while relating this to the Minister, she said to him, ‘you make my blood boil.’ These are teachers that the government officials are speaking to,” Dr Norton said.

Unfair Trade Practices

APNU Leader, David Granger and students. [APNU Photo]
APNU Leader, David Granger and students. [APNU Photo]
Meanwhile, Mr Granger alluded to the fact that the Rupununi has become a victim of unfair trade practices. He believes that production is suffering because of the government’s failure to provide adequately.

“A lot of stuff is coming from Brazil into the supermarkets of Lethem and the residents of Mocha Mocha can’t get their produce into the markets because the transportation is expensive, they have no refrigeration, no packaging facilities,” Mr Granger said.

He explained that more Brazilian produced is being imported into Guyana via the border but the same amount is not being exported from Guyana.

“I would say it is being exploited by the people with the superior technology and the under development of the Rupununi must be seen.”

The APNU Leader emphasized that the border is becoming an obstacle to development.

“The people of the Rupununi are being strangled by their own government and they’re being strangled by Brazilian manufacturers.”

He reiterated that the PPP government is hampering the Rupununi’s long-term development and hindering the happiness of the people living there.

According to Mr Granger, after over two decades, the Region has been the under-development of physical infrastructure, unsettled Amerindian land issues, an unsafe environment and uneasiness among the Region’s residents.

[APNU Photo]
[APNU Photo]
Below are a number of issues that the APNU Leader is concerned about as it relates to the Region:

Education: Failure rates at the annual National Grade Six Assessment examinations are astronomically high. The majority of children fail all four subjects. Dropout rates for boys and girls in primary and secondary schools double the rates for the coastland. Residents have demanded the establishment of a Rupununi Technical Institute, a Rupununi Agricultural Institute and a Rupununi Craft Institute.

 

Empowerment: Lethem, the administrative centre, is expanding but its municipal services – streets, lighting, sanitation, etc, – are deteriorating. APNU is committed to upgrading Lethem to become a town in order to improve administration of this vast region. Many communities are not satisfied with the lands allocated to them. Large tracts of land have been given out as mining and forestry concessions. APNU promises to sit down with communities to examine and settle these issues once and for all.

 

[APNU Photo]
[APNU Photo]
Public health: Rupununi residents need a higher level of preventative health education, including nutrition and ante-natal and post-natal care. The so-called state-of-the-art Lethem Regional Hospital is inadequate to serve the needs of the region and has been described as little more than “a glorified health centre at its best.” APNU will ensure that the hospital is fully staffed with specialist doctors and adequately stocked with drugs and equipment.

 

Public security: Crime is rampant. Contraband smuggling, narcotics-trafficking and gun-running are prevalent. Criminals easily exploit the Guyana Police Force’s lack of resources and inability to effectively patrol the long Guyana-Brazil border. There is no viable border and regional security plan.

 

Public works: The Region’s aerodromes must be made more safe, roads more accessible in any weather and bridges must be reconstructed and made sturdier. The cost of living is exorbitant largely because of the administration’s reluctance to invest in building the essential Lethem-Linden highway and a proper regional road network. The Region has proven its capability of generating renewable energy by hydro-electricity, wind chargers and solar panels but these resources are underdeveloped. Residents, nevertheless, are obliged to converge outside the Lethem Power Company Inc. (LPCI) compound every year to protest against high electricity tariffs and low level of service.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The most recent disinterest shown to the citizens of guyana was that of Granger and the opposition supporting the EU to with hold the citizens money without a cause. Once again i advise you to get your facts straight.

  2. The PPP has NO interest in the ppl of Guyana ,they are just about the 3% that includes the friends and family of them and them alone,,stop talking shit,and acting as if you are not aware of the thiefing, and I can bet you are not part of the 3% ,,if you were you would not have time to blog,,so get real, stop giving praise to a lawless and selfish Government ,,

  3. How can they be the same when they have two totally different view? You need to get updated. PNC wants to come out of opposition just like AFC. They are not concerned about the well being of Guyanese. The opposition aim is to hold power even if the country’s economy is to cripple. As Ramjattan said that that is collateral damage. Ramjattan and Granger are not concerned if the population is to suffer from White mouth again. These same follow wanted to close down the sogar industry that employes thousands. When those people are unemployed then Ramjattan, Granger and Greenidge would shout collateral damage.

  4. Granger and all the other TICKS just trying to fool these humble PEOPLE,,he will forget them just like all the rest,,PNC PPP is two of the same,,put granger in and what you think will happen to Guyana ,,,,Same shit stink smell

  5. It was the opposition that called the Amerindians low class citizens of guyana and blocked the fundings in Parliament. Now Granger behaving like he is god for the Amerindians. It was ppp who made it possible for Amerindians to have higher Level education, electricity and better access to the Coastland. It is Granger who is responsible for the burning down of schools, cutting the LCDS money and aviation money from the budget.

  6. The PPP did nothing for the ppl ,,they were planning to have the whore munger kelwan lall another lall as minister well he always drunk and shooting up for hookers, so tell us what you cockroaches ever did ,,

  7. When the Govt is helping the amerindian. The opposition will block the funding and called it buying Amerindian votes.

  8. Granger should tell the people that he block critical fundings through the Parliament that could have benefited them to this date. The painting of a glim scene is an example of what the opposition could have bettered had they voted in favour of the amerindian fundings. Granger should take the blame as leader of the opposition because of the opposition’s neglect to the indigenous community during the Parliamentary debates.

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