Pic: One of the many areas cleaned by Community Enhancement Workers in Port Mourant
The appearances of communities across Region Six, East Berbice/ Corentyne, are changing as a result of works under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) which has led to cleaner internal drains, manicured parapets, the removal of garbage and the clearing of burial grounds.
CIIP which is being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Water has employed over 260 persons to assist the 16 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, targeted Municipalities and Orealla/ Siparuta Village Council in the Region.
The clearing of overgrown vegetation to improve accessibility to cemeteries was one of the first tasks undertaken by Community Enhancement Workers when the project started in August last. To date, of the 28 public burial grounds 24 including Canefield, Ordinance, Rose Hall Town, and Bush Lot/ Adventure were cleaned.
Some of the cemeteries were not cleared in numerous years. A resident explained that since Canefield Cemetery was established it had not been cleaned, that is, until CIIP was introduced. Over time, certain sections had become inaccessible. It was observed that some families, encouraged by the access created, have cleaned around the tombs of their loved ones.
Improvements to drainage networks were proven effective since communities were not flooded during the rainy season. Armed with cutlasses and rakes, Community Enhancement Workers battle antelope grass that infested most drainage networks.
Khrishna Deodat, a resident, praised the works being done in the Region. He is particularly impressed with the drainage works. Deodat hopes that the NDCs would provide tractors to remove the grass and silt placed on the cut parapets by the workers.
Many NDCs across the Region are faced with financial hardships. They are hopeful that residents encouraged by the improvements done by CIIP would pay their rates and taxes. Canefield NDC has reported an increase in residents coming forward to pay their taxes. Similar reports of works done and progress recorded were obtained from Regions Two, Three, Four and Five where the project is being executed.
The implementation of CIIP has not been without challenges. One such challenge was the timely payment of workers, created by inaccurate banking and insurance information as well as administrative difficulties.
Special mention must be made to the Community Enhancement Workers who dedicated their energies towards making the implementation of this programme a success regardless of these difficulties.
Appropriate steps have been taken to correct some of the teething problems encountered. During November and December, staff of CIIP met with Community Enhancement Workers to ensure measures are in place for a smoother implementation in upcoming year.