The approximately 1,000 residents in the Indigenous village of Akawini will soon boast of being yet another community to benefit from solar power under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
The project allows Guyana to fulfil its mandate to make the UN Sustainable Development Goal #7 a reality. That goal seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all peoples.
Speaking to residents at a recently concluded community engagement in Akawini, Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson mentioned the ‘green’ project.
“My ministry will be installing some solar systems with the National Procurement Tender Board. It is about $2.5 million. It should be awarded shortly, and they will immediately start to do that [project],” said Minister Patterson.
This project will feature a 16kW photovoltaic system in the Region 2 community located in the Lower Pomeroon River. The Minister noted his office will examine the most suitable method to install the solar system project, as he acknowledged that some homes are scattered in Akawini which may pose a challenge.
“If there’s a cluster of homes on an island or in an area, we normally put a solar system to power them but it’s hard for us to put a solar system here and power somebody in the backdam so we have to look at other methods,“ he noted.
On the other hand, concerning the solar panels already installed on the homes of residents in Akawini, Minister Patterson advised them to ensure their panels are secured so that when the time comes the government will only have to replace the batteries.
According to the Public Infrastructure Minister, “As long as you keep the panels safe, all we have to do is provide you with a battery and you’ll be able to work again…We’ve started to procure some [batteries] so hopefully they’ll be back in [time].”
Meanwhile, Toshao of Akawini David Wilson commended the Coalition Government for the many initiatives that have positively impacted Akawini’s residents. Some of these projects included a new walkway in Barocaro that was completed in February 2019 and a new structure to house their nursery school pupils. Toshao Wilson further mentioned that both a nursery and primary school are scheduled to be built in the second week of August.
“We were lucky to have established, at both missions, [a] hot meal kitchen which was not in place for many, many years. So, our children are now enjoying lunch from the kitchen that’s provided by the government.”
Referencing the pavilions built under the current administration, Wilson stressed, “across the community, at the top half and at Waikipina, we are also lucky to have pavilions established so that our children could be taken care of [and have] seating accommodations.”
Akawini is a community comprising residents of three indigenous groups – the Caribs, Warraus and Arawaks. Its main economic activity is lumbering. (Department of Public Information)