Over 1000 Guyanese are gainfully employed through a Ministry of Communities’ project to improve the aesthetics and preserve and maintain community infrastructure within Neighborhood Democratic Councils and Townships.
Employed under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP), in nine Regions; with Region Eight being the exception, the workers are involved in cleaning up their surroundings and maintaining community drainage.
Project Coordinator, Karen Roopchan, said the workers are doing mainly enhancement activities in the communities.“They do cleaning and clearing of the environment; the road shoulders, the drains, the parapets, burial grounds, any community type of area, they would maintain to enhance the look and of course to improve drainage and the environment as a whole,” Roopchand said in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).
Roopchand explained that the Ministry is aiming to employ an additional 400 persons, by the end of 2016, as there are positions available for enhancement workers in the various areas. She is encouraging interested persons to apply for these vacant posts through their various village offices, “We want to help in creating jobs and we have scope under this project to do just that and I would like to encourage persons to visit their village councils and uplift application forms.”
CIIP began in 2014 and was remodeled in 2015 in keeping with the current government’s commitment towards devolution and decentralization of resources to the local democratic organs. This remodeling has seen the day to day management of the workers transferred from the Ministry to the local democratic areas.
Maintenance of community infrastructure
Roopchand explained that under the infrastructure development component of CIIP, where the focus is on the construction bridges, culvert, roads, playgrounds, parks and markets; there are currently 16 projects valued at in excess of $160M in progress in Regions One, Two, Five, Six, Seven, Nine and Ten. Projects for Regions Three and Four are currently going through the tender process.
The Project Coordinator stated that the projects are requests that come from the communities, through the NDCs or in some cases, the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs)
“Once we receive the requests, we would go in (and) assess the projects and if it is something that falls within the scope of CIIP, then we get approval, move to the tendering stage and then we implement that project,” Roopchand explained.
Projects that get the CIIP approval are those that contribute towards the social and economic development of the community as well as create employment.
“The vision of the Ministry of Communities is to create sustainable, empowered communities, so our aim in choosing that project is to meet that mandate, so we look for projects that would improve access to schools, to health centers, to facilities, to jobs, and that encourage economic and social development within the communities as well as creating that environment to create cohesive communities,” Roopchand added.
Currently CIIP is undertaking the construction of a concrete tarmac at the North West Secondary School, Mabaruma; the rehabilitation of the Mabaruma Recreational Park; the construction of bridge linking Haswell to Area R, Port Mourant; the rehabilitation of Independence Square in Kwakwani, Upper Demerara; the reconstruction of footpath bridge linking Ankerville to Bound Yard and Grass Field Port Mourant; reconstruction of Smythfield/Vryman’s Ervyn footpath access bridge, New Amsterdam; and the construction of a fence at the Government Compound Playfield, Mahdia, among its major projects.
Also being undertaken is the construction of chain-link fences and infilling at Cotton Field Playground, Region Two; the construction of timber revetment, in Bartica; the rehabilitation of footpath bridges at Fifth Street, Whim; the construction of benab, fence and sanitary block at Culvert City Sports Ground, Lethem; the rehabilitation of North Sideline Road, Cottage, Mahaicony; the construction of tarmac and concrete walkway and the supply and installation of benches at Unity Park, Exmouth, Region Two; the construction of West Indian Housing Scheme Recreational Park, Bartica; and the rehabilitation of the Multipurpose Centre, at Good Hope, Region Two.
Roopchand explained that when the project started, the ministry only implemented works in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six. In 2015, Regions One, Seven and Nine were included in the project. Future plans are on stream to take CIIP to Region Eight.