Edghill responds to APNU/AFC’s “erroneous, misleading” advertisement

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The following is a letter by Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghilll

Dear Editor,

Kindly grant me a space in your newspaper to respond to an erroneous and highly misleading and irresponsible statement made by the former Coalition Administration.

Editor, in an advertisement published in the Kaieteur Newspaper November 10, 2020 edition, dubbed “PPP Report Card- 100 Days of Failure” the fabricator of this fictious illustration pointed out that the PPP/C Government, among other things, failed to “Maintain Hinterland roads and bridges and to protect Indigenous Communities.”

Permit me to clarify that this Government, and my Ministry in particular, is not one that is associated with failure and marred with incapacities. Firstly, I wish to elucidate that the Ministry of Public Works is currently rolling out maintenance works in the Hinterland Regions, in collaboration with other Government agencies. Presently, maintenance works are ongoing on the Linden to Lethem trail as well as the Linden to Kwakwani road.

Moreover, several Hinterland roads, in Regions One, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten, are expected to be soon rehabilitated. These much-needed works were stalled by the former administration. Some of the major projects that will come on stream soon include:

  1. Rehabilitation of M4 (Region 1) to Yarakita Road (Phase 2)
  2. Rehabilitation of Compound Road, Mabaruma (Phase 4)
  3. Rehabilitation of Orealla to Kwakwani (Phase 2)
  4. Rehabilitation of Mile 5 to Airstrip Bartica (Phase 4)
  5. Rehabilitation of Karrau to Buckhall (Phase 4)
  6. Material Stockpile and Rehabilitation of Mahdia Main Access (Phase 2)
  7. Rehabilitation of Lethem – Aishalton Corridor
  8. Rehabilitation of Internal Roads Lethem
  9. Rehabilitation of Barrack Retreat Corridor (Sidewalks), Lethem

If the author of this advertisement was indeed concerned about progress in his country, he would have noticed that the projects above, along with so many others, were already tendered for.

Nonetheless Editor, the accuser of the brethren claims that this Government has failed to maintain these Hinterland infrastructures, but they also forgot to mention that they were the ones who are responsible for many of the planned projects being unable to roll out. The now Opposition Party clenched to power for so long, putting the entire country on pause, while they fabricated new ideas to remain in Government. It is no secret that this exhausting phase in Guyana’s History severely impacted the economy.

Due to the long electoral process, the country was without a Budget and was unable to allocate funding for Infrastructural and other projects.

Nonetheless Editor, please allow me to address this fabler who also noted in his tale, that this Government failed to “Protect Indigenous Communities”. This particular highlight almost makes me chuckle, since the former Administration, while in power, especially during a COVID-19 pandemic failed miserably to protect these vulnerable communities.

Thousands of masks, as well as food hampers and sanitation supplies have been distributed to Indigenous communities, so far, in a bid to protect our people. Furthermore, protocols have been put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Indigenous brothers and for persons travelling into these communities.

Let me also remind the author of this advert that the Government has also initiated the distribution of a COVID-19 Cash Grant of $25,000, to benefit the entire country. The PPP/C Administration has even recommenced the Community Service Officers Programme, which will provide jobs for a number of Indigenous people, whose livelihoods were snatched when the APNU/AFC Government assumed office in 2015. Allow me to enlighten this group of apparent uninformed citizens, that our Government has also restored the Amerindian Development Fund.

Editor, our Government has been distributing educational materials in the form of worksheets and others, to enable learning in the Hinterland and across the country. These are just a few of the measures taken by the PPP/C Administration in its first 100 days in office. How then, can a Government who sat back and watched our people face COVID-19 in the eye, now claim that this Government has failed its people?

Yours in Development,

Bishop Juan Edghill

Minister of Public Works