Rural Guyana reels under neglect
Since taking office the APNU/AFC coalition has not initiated any significant developmental project that would bring benefit/s to the people and country. In fact, there is stagnation taking place everywhere and there is a conspicuous stupor engulfing the government. The entire Cabinet seems incapable of devising a strategy and a plan to put the country on track.
Nowhere is this inertia more evident than in rural Guyana. The government’s reach is circumscribed by the perimeters of Georgetown where its biggest undertaking, the billion dollar-plus Durban Park, stands as a monument to the coalition’s limitations as far as the country’s development is concerned.
The recent rains have exposed the dire plight of rural and hinterland folks and their vulnerabilities due to neglect of infrastructure. Farmers have suffered immense losses. Those involved in the mining and forest industries have complained of the poor state of roads.
Repairs to farm-to-market roads are in a state of disrepair. Drainage and irrigation canals in agricultural areas are becoming weed infested. Even community drainage is suffering from gross neglect.
Most people go about their business as if there is no government. They already know that it is a waste of time to appeal to officials so they don’t. Several calls for compensation by various communities have gone unheeded.
In many places where there was a level of social services, these are becoming non-existent. The supply of drugs to rural and hinterland institutions is being bungled by the authorities.
The Regional governments are suffering from the same malaise. The hand-picked political operatives in the system are exhibiting the same authoritarian behavior seen at the level of the central government. Elected officials at the regional level, especially where the PPP/C is in the majority, are being bypassed and not consulted. The political REOs are becoming like little Caesars.
It is the same situation where the Neighbourhood Councils are concerned. The government is stifling them, especially since most of them are controlled by the PPP/C. There is hardly any activity going on in most of these NDCs and even when something is done, the elected bodies are bypassed by the ‘Caesars’ in the RDCs.
The initial campaign to clean various communities has fizzled out. Even in the capital city, where major clean-up activities took place, the steam is running out. The City Council has run out of cash as was seen in the recent strike by waste disposal firms which were not paid for months.
It this situation is allowed to continue it will have devastating effects on communities outside of the capital city. The deterioration of vital infrastructure will negatively impact on economic activities and consequently, the standard of living. When this is added to the burdens of taxation, higher prices, etc, it means that rural Guyana is heading for a severe crisis.