Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Solar power pilot for some Mabaruma communities

GUYANA - Some areas in the Mabaruma Sub-Region in Region One (Barima/Waini) will be part of a pilot programme that will see the provision of solar electricity.

According to a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Hydar Ally, visited more than 15 communities, including Barima, Aruka, Wauna/Tobago, Almond Beach and Hobodia during the outreach between the period May 15 through 19.

While addressing social issues during the visit Sukhai told residents of Yarakita they were part of a pilot programme, the Unserved Areas Electricity Programme( UAEP), an Inter–American Development Bank funded programme, which will provide solar power to outlying areas. If the programme is successful it will be expanded in the future. There is however, no guarantee as to whether it will be extended to all the villages since the government will have to provide funding to move the programme forward, the release noted.

Sukhai said the Government of Guyana is expected to acquire 1,000 solar units which would be used to provide minimum electricity to some villages. While the units do not have the capacity to provide power to appliances they will be able to provide light for approximately four hours to each community, to the benefit to children during study periods.

Yarakita was the recipient of a new primary school and according to Ramotar, the administration has trained a lot of teachers who are occupying leading positions in various schools. He gave assurances that the issue of absenteeism by teachers will be raised with the Ministry of Education after receiving complaints from residents in that community.

Some $710M was allocated to the national school feeding programme to benefit students in different administrative regions, including Regions One and the programme has brought about a marked difference in attendance rate as more children attend school, especially in Hinterland areas, GINA stated.

As regards the lack of birth certificates, Sukhai said that 400 original copies of the document had been sent into the area and were being checked and collated after which they will be forwarded to the Toshaos for distribution.

She explained that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry is actively pursuing the issue after explaining to residents that the ministry depends on the General Registrar’s Office for assistance.

The team provided an update to residents on the Secure Livelihood Programme which is slated for Region One. Sukhai said the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSOs) of Guyana are coordinating with a number of specialists who will be placed in that region to provide assistance whereby 15 communities in the area will benefit from specialist and expert skills, the release said.

Specialists in enterprise development, finance and marketing as well a food technologist will be available to residents, Sukhai said. They will enable residents to better market their products in a manner in which they will be adequately compensated.

Meanwhile, Ally, who visited the Mabaruma Hospital and the nurse’s hostel which is under construction, told residents that strides have been made in the health sector as he related that maternity deaths have reduced to a level that is even better than other parts of the Eastern Caribbean.

GINA stated that the malaria eradication programme has been successful and these and other aspects of development have been made possible through the efforts of the government.

Source: Stabroek News

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