President Irfaan Ali told scores of Mocha Arcadia residents that now is the “time and season for development” and that his government would walk together with them to ensure that they have equal access to development opportunities.
“My message to you today is that we have no other choice than to live with each other and build this country.”
President Ali made the statement while addressing the concerns of members of the community following the official opening of the $59 million Burnham Boulevard on Sunday. Construction on the road began in June and was completed within three months.
He disclosed that inclusive of the roadway, the government is expending more than $192 million to reconstruct roads in the community. He added that work in the community is part of the government’s national approach to development.
The rehabilitation and commissioning of the access road were done following a request made by residents in a letter to the President detailing their frustrations over its deplorable condition.
NATIONAL APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT
“Development must be able to add value to your life. The road out there is something physical. But what we don’t understand is that the road has brought value to every single home in this community. It has increased the net value of your homes in this community.”
The President pointed to the importance of understanding the implications of the development underway and the positive impact it will have on residents.
He added that eventually, Mocha Arcadia would be an important midpoint connecting the new Silica City with Georgetown. More importantly, he said, the government is also building out the connections into Georgetown and along the East Coast corridor.
“This is what infrastructure transformation brings. It brings an improvement in the net worth of the community; it brings an improvement in the net worth of properties. And when that happens, it takes up your net value. So, what we’re doing is adding value, building capacity, bringing hope, and developing pride.”
The President said that the government wants all communities in Guyana to feel like “they’re part of the investment, they are part of the development, they are part of the growth story of our country. Unless we can all feel that we are a part of the growth story of our country, then it will always feel as if we are not moving forward.”
ENHANCED OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
President Ali noted that while the investment in infrastructure is important, investments in people are also critical. He, therefore, tasked the Public Service Minister, Sonia Parag, with identifying young persons from the community to be trained in technical education.
He urged those gathered not to lock themselves out of opportunities by subjecting themselves to narrow thinking.
“I am not here to tell you that I want all of you here to vote for the PPP; I am here to tell you that I want all of you to benefit from the PPP government.”
He reiterated that the various initiatives being rolled out by his administration are not only geared towards ensuring the lives of all Guyanese improve but are aligned with the “One Guyana” vision.
“We have a choice to make in this country, and that choice must always be defined by facts. It must not be defined by sensational thoughts, it must not be defined by mischief, it must not be defined by divisive commentary, and it must be defined by understanding the problem and working in a structured way to solve the problem.”
DEFINING THE FUTURE
President Ali urged the residents not to be swayed by negative influence and narrative, particularly from political players.
“I am working with everyone[…]. The people are coming along with me on this journey. I am not going to let any bureaucracy anywhere in this country stop me from bringing the people along with me. No bureaucracy anywhere will stop me.”
He also assured the residents that their needs would be addressed, including the provision of sufficient textbooks, the restoration of internet access in the school, improved ventilation, the construction of a disability ramp for the community’s primary school, the provision of street lights, the provision of furniture, and the rehabilitation of the school’s recreational ground.
Meanwhile, the President stated that the processing of land titles for the community is well underway and is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
The President assured the residents that the respective Ministers will return with technical teams to conduct assessments to address their concerns in the coming weeks.
The Head of State was joined by several government representatives, including the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, the Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, the Deodat Indar, and the Commissioner of Police (ag), Clifton Hicken among others.