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– observers call for similar treatment for all other local bodies
The Government Department of Public Information (DPI) in a release on Monday announced Minister of Regional and Local Government, Nigel Dharamlall, has handed over some $37.5 million in subvention to 15 of the 17 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) in Region Four, in what the government said is “to advance services within the various districts.” Said release stated the remaining two NDCs that have not yet received the subvention would receive their cheques at a later date.
The Minister in his address at the presentation ceremony called on residents to be informed and involved in Government’s interventions within their areas. He noted that the residents could help in playing a role in ensuring the money is wisely spent in the effort to uphold the values of good governance.
The subventions will be paid out in two parts. A 50 percent upfront and the remaining 50 percent when the first is spent. Similar distribution exercises are scheduled for Regions Five and Six today. Last Friday, $35 million was handed over to the 14 NDCs in Region Three.
Observers have commended the disbursement but have called for equitable considerations for all the 65 NDCs, the 10 municipalities and 75 Amerindian village councils. They said the subventions, though small in sum, given the urgent need for infrastructural development and maintenance the problems of solid waste management and proper drainage and irrigation must be tackled with urgency.
The DPI release did not state how the money will be spent but reported the Minister said “the onus is now on the NDCs to honour their obligations and partner with communities to address issues, especially those that are priority.”
Recent high tides and heavy rainfalls have resulted in major flooding, affecting all ten administrative regions. However, the regions that have been most affected are Regions Two, Five, Six, Seven and 10. In some areas water is still on the land and the debris left in the wake of the floods could pose another problem for solid waste management.
President Irfaan Ali on June 13 declared the flooding a National Disaster. Some of the areas affected by the flood have become like lakes. Residents have been forced to either create their own floating mechanism and boat to escape or move from one area to the other. Farms, livestock, homes, appliances and equipment have been destroyed, possibly to the sum of hundreds of millions. Earlier this month, the Guyana Hydrometeorological Service said the current heavy, persistent rain may not end until mid-July/August