Several roads across Region Eight are set for major improvement following the signing of contracts valued over $100 million by the Ministry of Public Works.
As part of the timely infrastructural undertaking, it is estimated that more than 40 roads in various villages are slated to be rehabilitated by local contractors.
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works, Vladim Persaud spearheaded the exercise during an outreach to the region on Saturday.
“Our government continues to support the upgrading of roads in the hinterland. I am informed that $6.5 billion is going into hinterland roads under the maintenance programme this year. From 2020 to now, just over $12 billion was spent on hinterland road maintenance,” the minister disclosed.
Additionally, she urged the contractors to hire workmen from within the villages, creating employment opportunities, and allowing the money to circulate within the village.
Minister Sukhai said like many other programmes, the government is making life easier for persons living in the hinterland regions, by bringing funds and resources directly into the villages, instead of having them travel distances.
“With our process and systems, we have come out to the location to pay you in cash. So, it’s much simpler now. You don’t have to worry about travelling to Georgetown to change your cheque. Now you can provide easy and fast payment to your villagers when they work with you,” Minister Sukhai noted.
Meanwhile, Persaud explained that the road maintenance contracts have been increased, noting that before contractors were given a road consisting of one lot and a specified amount of money.
However, this time around, the one road has been split into two lots and the money doubled.
“I just want to inform you that this is just one of our iterations that is being conducted in the hinterland. We will be spending billions on the hinterland road works across the region. We have increased the subventions and contributions. And we have been able to do that by moving from basically $100 million to almost $200 million from actual allocated works that are being done by the respective village councils,” the permanent secretary explained. He disclosed that a total of $295 million has been allocated for the road maintenance programme for Region Eight this year.