Regional Chairman of Region 10 Deron Adams, is upset that many of the community projects approved by the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), that were requests from residents during community consultations, were slashed from the 2023 budget. In a press release, the Chairman says the budget is doing the opposite of helping residents since many of their requests were removed but is imposing what the government thinks is best for them. Adams has been complaining about projects proposed by his council being sidelined since being appointed in 2020. “This government continues to pursue a policy of not only refusing to fund projects proposed by the council, but to ignore input from local governance perspective,” the statement said. Allusion was made to projects proposed under the agriculture programme to secure funding for farmers in several outlying communities in Region 10. During a visit to the Upper-Berbice River communities, Adams and councillors saw first-hand some of the challenges the farmers in those communities are facing, particularly to market their crops.
In addition to community projects, the chairman claims that the synthetic tract is not complete, as was stated by the Finance Minister in his presentation and with the Mackenzie Sports Club under construction, there is no current training ground for athletes. “One would have thought that it would make sense to complete the track before embarking on improvements to the Mackenzie Sports Club so that an alternate venue would be available,” the statement said.
Another major project that was proposed but was removed, was the continuation of the new Regional Democratic Council headquarters at Speightland,Mackenzie. The current building which is decades old, located on Republic Avenue, was listed as a fire hazard by the Guyana Fire Service. It is currently overcrowded and is structurally faulty. “The ground floor floods every day as a result of plumbing deficiencies and on several occasions the operations here have been brought to a halt and staff sent home as a result of sewerage backing up and overflowing into office spaces. The Administration building at Kwakwani is in a similar state of disrepair and begs the question why would any administration that cares for the persons in its direct employ, refuse to allocate resources to make their work environment safe and comfortable,” the release said.
While the budget for his office operations was increased to $47 M, the actual sum to facilitate operations has been reduced by $700,000 since stipend for Toshaos and Councillors has been increased. The Chairman claims that this reduced sum will affect the office’s community consultation programmes amongst others. “When cost of living increases are factored in, you can see that the RDC is being forced to do less work in Region 10 due to a net reduction in its funding. Fuel, spares and maintenance costs to facilitate our interaction with residents across the 6,555 square miles of this region, from the Berbice River to the upper reaches of the Demerara and the Essequibo River communities as well.”
The council calls on the government to ensure the elected arm of the RDC is not sidelined and the wishes of the constituents are respected.