Regional Chairman of Region One (Barima/Waini), Brentol Ashley, has reported an economic slow in the area with one of the reasons being the slow implementation of budgeted projects for this year.
“To date, major projects which should have been started, or in some cases completed, have not yet been awarded and is currently in the mobilization phase…The region’s budget for 2019, has not be fully implemented. As I speak, it’s not even 50 percent implemented…I would say it is somewhere in the 30s.”
This is what Ashley told media operatives yesterday, during a news conference held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Church Street Georgetown.
Ashley, who serves as the Chairman of the Finance Committee as well as Chairperson (acting) of the Infrastructure Committee of Region One, said that both entities are being prevented “in some way”, from carrying out their mandate to monitor projects.
He said that the government’s “planting” of an agent to “look out for their own people” is stymying progress in the region.
This, he claims, results in contractors who are sympathetic to the government, being provided with more contracts than they can handle which ultimately results in the slow implementation of the projects.
Ashley said that while the government “boasts” of the millions of dollars in concrete roads they built in Region One, this does not mesh with the amount of taxes being extracted from the region.
“Those concrete roads cannot compensate – which we are grateful to have better roads – but we believe that if revenues are coming out of our region, it should be given back to the region for its development in a holistic manner,” he said.
He conveyed his concern that the slow implementation rate will see millions of unused dollars going back to the consolidated fund.
The administrator told the media also, that the region is being faced with many problems relating to education as well. Ashley again, cast blame on the slothful pace in which the projects are being implemented.
“In Port Kaituma in the morning, the primary school uses secondary school and, in the afternoon, then Secondary school children will go to school…Two months of holiday would have elapsed and it is kind of heartrending and very disappointing to see that those two months would have elapsed and only in September , mobilisation for the rehabilitation of these major learning institutions would have started,” he reported.