Ituni residents decry state of access road, other issues affecting community
Several Ministers of Government ventured into the remote Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) community of Ituni where they were made privy to the issues affecting residents there, even as one resident contended that the deplorable state of the access road is a major cause for concern.Community member Keisha Griffith spoke very passionately about these issues during a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) meeting with contesting Party Chairman candidate, Minister of State Joseph Harmon at the New Silvercity Secondary School in Linden.Griffith, who also serves as a Community Development Officer of Ituni, said she felt as though the community of Ituni was isolated from the rest of the Region.“I am from Ituni, and I think is Region 10, because sometimes I does feel Ituni ain’t part of Region 10,” she noted. This was met with applause and agreement from other residents, who had travelled to be part of the meeting.“I am serious. We in Ituni have lots of issues and I can see that the Ministers have a problem to reach to Ituni. What is the problem? Why the Ministers can’t reach to Ituni?” Griffith asked.This was met with more shouts from members of the audience who replied: “Road!”“Don’t talk about the rest – jobs…land for logging. Logging is the only thing we does do up deh. We ain’t got nothing (else). Since this Government take over, we don’t have nothing to show…So I am asking you Minister Harmon where are the changes… we voted for change and we want see y’all do things for we,” Griffith passionately stated.She told this publication afterwards that the internal roads in the community were also in a deplorable state. Her stance on the condition of the main access road was supported by Minister Valarie Adams-Yearwood, who recalled travelling for four hours along the Ituni trail.“I want to support Keisha, because apart from being a Minister of Government… I’m also from Region 10. Ituni road is a mess for too long. I know that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure on several occasions did grading and so on, but by the time you have a smooth road for two weeks, the rest of the year the terrain you can’t travel,” Minister Adams-Yearwood pointed out.She added that as a Minister she has visited Ituni on several occasions for land allocation and other initiatives, but noted that it was not easy getting there.Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson stated that while the Public Infrastructure Ministry did work on the roads, weather patterns were sometimes a hindrance.However, the Minister added that it was not right to say that the Government has not done anything in Ituni, noting that in 2016 and 2017 it created work for young people through the Community Organised Restore the Environment (CORE) project where in excess of five persons should have been employed.Meanwhile, Minister Harmon promised to deal with the issues of public infrastructure separately, noting that he could not give all the answers to several other issues posed by residents at that specific time.He further noted that while there were some matters which could be dealt with on the spot, there were others which would be dealt with separately.Nevertheless, he said he was happy that the concerns were raised. In dealing with such regional issues, Minister Simona Broomes urged the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) to have community meetings with residents, as she pointed to the relevance of having local democracy: “We put local power in the hands of the people…”She also promised to go to Ituni and do a walkabout since she has a responsibility for the Region.