8/06/2006

Wakapao residents ask President for school, medex...

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo visited the Amerindian village Wakapoa in the Pomeroon River two Sundays ago to monitor development works and give residents an opportunity to inform him about issues that affect their daily lives.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release when Jagdeo visited the Region 2 village residents made a number of requests. Residents asked the president to provide a medex for the community as the position is now vacant and the village health worker is presently training to become a nurse. They also complained that the community needs a microscope to aid in the diagnosis of malaria as ordinarily they would have to travel to Charity for the tests to be done. The community also requested an engine for the boat that is used to ferry children to school and, after demonstrating how a chainsaw is used to grind the cassava used to make cassava bread, asked for equipment that will allow them to do this on a larger scale. The villagers also asked for equipment that will facilitate large-scale farming and for the solar system in the community to be upgraded. The villagers also asked for a secondary school to be constructed in the area and raised concerns about the delay in the construction of a multi-purpose centre that has been approved for the area as plans are in train to host programmes for high school dropouts, women and other community development projects in the building.

In response to queries about health services the president said another villager must be selected to be trained as a health worker. Jagdeo told residents that Regional Chairman Ali Baksh and Director of the Regional Health Services Unit in the Ministry of Health Dr Bheri Ramsarran will assist with getting 200 impregnated bed nets to the community for distribution as research has shown that consistent use of the nets will help to stem the transmission of malaria. The president also told villagers that plans are in train to make Charity into a township "so goods can be shipped to and from abroad and you don't have to go to Georgetown," and as such a new state-of-the-art hospital is being constructed at Suddie. The hospital is near completion and a second doctor who will soon be stationed at the Charity hospital, will also be tasked with providing services to neighbouring communities like Wakapoa. In relation to industrial equipment, the president said the government will consider the request for the engine but a feasibility study would have to be done before equipment for cassava bread making could be obtained. As regards the construction of the school, the president said secondary schools are only constructed in heavily populated areas and officials from the Minister of Education will be dispatched to assess the situation. However, GINA said the community has a population of about 300 and as such the primary school programme could be extended to cater for secondary school students as is done in other communities. Businessman Alfred Alphonso, who accompanied the president on his visit, said in one year's time telephone and internet service will be available in the area. This, the president said, will fall under the government's Information Communication Technology strategy programme. Jagdeo also pledged to investigate whether approval was granted for the construction of the building and urged residents to make full use of it once it has been completed.

The president also told residents about plans to expand the revolving loan programme to other communities following complaints that the interest rate on loans obtained from the Institute for Private Enterprise Development was too high. Jagdeo also commissioned a museum and craft shop established by the community with funds from two overseas volunteers and researchers.

*Source: Starbroek News, July 31st, 2006

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