The deplorable condition of roads in Guyana’s North West District (NWD) on Wednesday sparked off a picketing demonstration by the Alliance For Change (AFC) outside the Local Government Ministry.
A number of party executives and other activists held placards with strongly worded slogans to hammer home their concerns about the earthen roads in the Port Kaituma, Matthew’s Ridge, Arakaka area. The placards read “Poor government, poor water supply, poor conditions in Region One,” “Government rejects Port Kaituma, Arakaka, Matthew’s Ridge again,” “PPPC has failed the people in Region One,” “The people of Port Kaituma, Arakaka, Baramita are being treated like animals by government,” and “Local Government Ministry fails Region One residents again.”
That party is worried about the likely loss of life and limb should vehicles topple, based on their activists’ recent personal experience.
Former Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, Trevor Williams dismissed suggestions that the protest, which called on the government to fix the roads, was an implied admission that his party would lose the May 11, 2015 general election. “We are not! It’s a responsibility not just because we are in the electioneering period. I believe personally that they will a price at the elections for this whether they run to fix it now or later,” he said. “I am calling on Region One to repay them (government) at the polls with rejection.”
He said the “unbearable sufferings” included high cost of living due to steep transportation costs.
AFC activist, Michael Carrington told Caribbean News Desk that residents have to pay GUY$80,000—GUY$6,000 per person– return for a 35 mile journey from Port Kaituma to Matthew’s Ridge. Carrington lamented that revenue from the very expensive tolls- GUY$75,000 for bulldozers and excavators, GUY$12,00 for trucks and GUY$2,000 for cars- is not being used to maintain the road. “Yet you are not seeing the money going back into infrastructure development. The road is in a terrible condition,” he said. “They are making enough money on the road there to repair the road.”
The AFC also criticized the efficiency and effectiveness with which the Interim Management Committee (IMC) appointed by the Ministry of Local Government is managing the affairs of that north west area.