At the 56th Independence Flag Raising Ceremony on Wednesday evening, regional officials of the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region (Region 10), affirmed that segregation and discrimination will not be encouraged, more so with the call for all Guyanese to adopt the ‘One Guyana’, concept. Minister of Housing and Water Colin Croal gave the feature remarks and assured residents, that Region 10 is set to benefit from the same rate of development as the rest of Guyana.
He underscored a number of initiatives ranging from job creation to development in the housing and infrastructure sector. He alluded to the recent signing of the contract for the construction of the USD $190 million Linden to Mabura Hill Road.
“The investment and employment opportunities that will rebound to Linden is not lost on your government. The Linden to Mabura Hill project is a gift to this community. It can turn your fortunes around through job creation, entrepreneurship and trade,” Minister Croal explained.
This development drive has birthed negotiations with the Inter-American Development Bank to upgrade the Linden hospital; and with the Islamic Development Bank for a $120 million project which, upon approval will see the massive improvement of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway before the end of this year through resurfacing works.
Speaking specifically to the housing sector, Croal informed residents that some 600 acres of land were recently acquired by government which will see an additional 2,000 house-lots being delivered to residents.
“In keeping with the vision of His Excellency for Linden which includes the construction of 1,000 housing units to young professionals of all income brackets, we have already started with the allocation and the handing over of 18 young professionals houses for doctors, teachers, and other public servants.”
Regarding unregulated housing in Amelia’s Ward on the outskirts of the township, Minister Croal underscored that his Ministry has engaged the community in multiple consultations.
It was made clear that the regularisation of the specific area in the community will be executed in conformity with the norms of government.
“We will continue to find solutions for the housing needs for the people of Linden, as well as to work with the people of Linden and resolve their issues, more than $751 million has been designated for building and infrastructure development work in Linden in 2022 to bolster our efforts towards development in the region. ”
The minister however was drowned out by a handful of protestors who turned up with placards to demonstrate against the recent move to demolish their illegal structures, that were in the path of a road. These squatters were recently allocated house lots. Some of the squatters however protested that the cost for the house lots are too high for a community like Linden. “We need the price for house lots to reflect our community’s economic reality…$200,000 to $600,000 can’t wuk,” one placard stated.
The minister however urged residents to resist attempts to stymie development.
“The only persons who will be interfered with are those who are on the alignment for the road construction because for you to have infrastructure work and development done for the community of Amelia’s Ward, it includes road networking.”
Minister Croal said the government’s current and future projects within the township is a demonstration of the administration’s efforts to solidify Linden as a hub for economic activities to transform the lives of residents.
In his address, Regional Chairman Deron Adams, said that a year has passed by and the conditions under which we observe this anniversary of our independence, is vastly different to what we were faced with last year. “It is perhaps testimony to our resilience as a people that we can be here to share in the renewed joy of being in charge of our destinies, as citizens of this great nation.” He stressed that maturity for us as a nation must therefore be our goal, not only in terms of years, but in terms of learning from the mistakes of others to avoid the paths that lead to greater difficulties. “There is no place for segregation, that experiment was tried and failed miserably in another part of the world. There is no place for racism, the world will not tolerate it and we have had our own dire experiences with this as well. There is no place for caste, class or stratification of our society, because as has been experienced the world over, the have nots will not sit idly by while the elite benefits,” he said.
Following his address, Regional Chairman Adams invited Mayor of Linden Waneka Arrindell, to give brief remarks as a result of protestations from regional officials that she was left off the programme. She said, “Independence means that we are free and this should never, if we say we are one people, one nation and one destiny, we give respect where it is due and tonight while I would not elaborate, Linden will never move forward, if we don’t understand what it means to respect and live together,” she said.
The programme also included cultural items such as patriotic dances, skits and songs. Following a march pass by the disciplined forces, the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted just outside the region’s Regional Democratic Council’s (RDC) office.