Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, urged the community leaders of Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) to take their responsibility to their communities and fellow residents seriously as he noted that they have a duty to work with every community member to improve their quality of life.The State Minister was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the Community Leaders Leadership Forum on Sunday evening, at the Belladrum Secondary School.Minister Harmon said that community leaders and community development organisations play an important role in the consolidation of local democracy and governance through the local government administration, as well as fuelling the momentum towards development. Noting that the theme, ‘Working together for the upliftment of the community’ is most appropriate, he said that the community leaders must understand, appreciate and be committed to resolving the issues that the communities face.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon chats with members of the community“We, as Government, recognise that we cannot foster true development in communities across Guyana by the mere infusion of resources from the top but rather with the full and effective involvement of community based organisations that are mandated to undertake community initiatives for the benefit of all residents of the community, which makes them the best conduit through which information, resources and development activities can be channelled from the Government to the community. Simply put, community development organisations are the best channels for effective administration and communication between the Government, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) and the people,” the minister is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.Noting that Guyana has a rich history of people centred, people focused, and people driven community initiatives, Minister Harmon said that over the years, numerous self-help groups, cooperatives and community based groups have emerged as change agents within communities. These institutions have made and continue to make immeasurable contributions to the development of communities across Guyana, but Minister Harmon said that a more collective and cooperative effort is needed to address issues in the community.“I hope you will decide on a way to create greater synergy with central Government, RDC and the NDC in the area of policy, programmatic interventions and other activities that the community would like. I would also like this forum to reinforce the unquestionable virtue of collaboration for the use of limited resources to develop the community and to create the environment for a strong, effective, self-sustainable community through collective endeavours. It is important that at the end of this forum, you as community-based organisers should no longer see yourself as a mere community activist but rather, as developmental partners working in collaboration with all levels of Government to ensure the good life for all particularly the members of your community,” he said.Chairman of the NDC, Emile Wilson in an invited comment, said that community members are pleased with the progress that has been made in several of the villages since this administration took office. He noted that the cooperation and support that have been given to the communities in the Region by the administration must be commended and applauded.After the opening ceremony, residents were given the opportunity to raise their concerns with the minister, many of which were addressed on the ground.
– Winifred Haywood re-elected as NA MayorNew Councillors were on Wednesday installed in two of the three municipalities in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).The town of Rose Hall has both a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, while New Amsterdam has a new Deputy Mayor, after Winifred Haywood was re-elected Mayor. The new Mayor of Rose Hall is Chattregoon Ramnauth and Deonauth Harrynarine is the Deputy Mayor.Newly elected Rose Hall Mayor, Chattregoon Ramnauth (seated centre) with members of the new CouncilThe new Mayor of Rose Hall says high on list of priorities will be to ensure the town has an improved garbage collection system. “The garbage collection system has to be more effective,” he said. Ramnauth also said the Council will not be increasing property taxes under his tenure as Mayor.However, several streets will be rehabilitated along with the drains.The Mayor-elect said a plan to ensure that residents pay their property taxes at the existing rates is in the making, with a campaign to be launched in January next year. He said financial statements of the Council’s accounts will be printed and placed at prominent locations as from next year.The 69-year-old Mayor-elect further stated that he is looking forward to the cooperation and support of all Councillors.The full Council is Mayor Ramnauth; Deputy Mayor Harrynarine; Arthur Fraser, Roydel Lewis, Elvis Punch, Vedwatie Ramnarine, Arjune Sammy, Rakhram Srikishen, David Fraser, Winston Hole, Boybert Bisram, Gaitree Sheonarine, Igram Rodney, Dave Budhu and Sandra Chisholm.Meanwhile, lead Councillor for the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Winston Hope congratulated the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor.Hope said the APNU side of the house is there to work together for the development of the town. He said they will support any programme which they think will benefit residents of the township.Meanwhile, in New Amsterdam, Winifred Haywood was re-elected Mayor, while the town has a new Deputy Mayor in Wainright McIntouch.APNU has 10 seats on the Council; the People’s Progressive Party, three; and the Alliance For Change (AFC), one.The full Council is Pullian Shultz, Buster Wright, Sheenta Lambert, Quacy Isaacs, Zabarally Armogan, Olga Stephens, Patrica Lynch, Winifred Haywood, Esan Vanderstoop, Keith Myers, Wainright McIntouch, Nalini Tahal and Kirk Fraser.Mayor Haywood said it is her hope that the new Councillors will serve faithfully.