By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region has become a zone of gross governmental neglect, as the Region’s mining and logging resources have been exploited for over a century and continue to enrich the national treasury.
This is the view of Leader of A Partnership for National Unity, David Granger, who noted during the Party’s press conference that the Cuyuni – Mazaruni region must not become a Cinderella province.
According to Granger, the region’s physical infrastructure remains undeveloped, as its small population is exposed to criminal violence.
“The economic potential, precarious security and political importance of the Region demand that a comprehensive development plan be designed to develop the material resources and improve the quality of life for residents,” the opposition leader said.
As it relates to the issue of environment, Granger noted that reckless mining practices have created a health hazard.
“Studies funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Guyana Environmental Capacity Development Project (GENCAPD) showed that 89 to 96 per cent of the population surveyed in one village – Isseneru – had almost double the reference level for humans of mercury contamination as recently as October 2013.”
He further added that high waters in the rivers and other waterways occasionally lead to flooding in parts of the Region.
“Owing to the floods, cassava and other staples rot in the ground and create food crises.”
In relation to employment, the APNU Leader explained that opportunities for the large number of school-leavers are few and that the presence of Brazilian and other foreign mining companies has hardly provided relief.
“Qualified young people, in the absence of new investments, seek low-level jobs in the mining and logging industries or migrate to neighbouring Venezuela or other regions in search of work.”
He further noted that household expenses in the Upper Mazaruni are at their highest level ever.
“The cost of buying manufactures goods from the coastland is prohibitive. Gasoline sells for $2,800 – $3,000 per gallon at Kamarang making riverine transport and the cost of taking farm produce to market expensive. The cost of the one-hour aircraft flight from Ogle to Kamarang is about $28,000, inflating the cost of commodities.”