The Government has delivered a minibus to the village of Fairview, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), eliminating the transportation woes of students, who are enrolled at the Bina Hill Secondary School in Region Nine. This is yet another fulfillment of a promise made by the government to the community, during the 2020 hustings.
The community had complained that many students of Bina Hill Secondary are not attending school regularly, as transportation from Fairview in Region Eight, to Annai in Region Nine is costly.
In response, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, and a team from the Ministry took the challenging journey from Georgetown to Fairview, on the Linden-Lethem trail to hand over the bus. Minister Sukhai said the government is investing heavily in education during the pandemic, especially in Amerindian communities.
“Today (September 25), you would see a spanking new minibus parked just outside the school. It means that the PPP Civic Government has now delivered to the students and the community, the commitment that was made since then and this delivery is going to assist students,” Minister Sukhai said.
“They will not have an excuse or parents will not have an excuse that they could not take their children to the school, including bringing them back home on weekends or on occasions that they have to bring them home. So, the objective is for us to support education to ensure that Fairview brings out from this village, qualified young people and not dropouts.”
Minister Sukhai said this is a demonstration that the government continues to address the challenges faced by citizens even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that children, including those from the hinterland, achieve their academic dreams. She noted that the bus can be used for other purposes in the village, but its priority is for the transport of the students.
There are 16 students in the village who attend Bina Hill Secondary, and who usually pay $3,000 to travel from Fairview to the school. That price is doubled as the parents must accompany the child whenever he or she enters or leaves the school. But, now with the village acquiring a bus from the government, that financial burden has been eliminated.
Toshao of Fairview, Bradford Allicock noted that the minibus is a blessing to the village. He said the economic strain has been lifted from villagers.
“I would like to thank the Honourable Minister Pauline Sukhai for delivering to us this very important equipment to us… the bus is important to the future generation of our children which will help our children a great lot in moving them from and to the schools.”
Allicock said not only will the children benefit, but pensioners as well who have to travel to look after their pension in either Annai or Lethem. Like the Toshao, the villagers are also overjoyed that the Government has fulfilled its promise.
Annie Felix who has three children attending Bina Hill secondary and would have to pay $12,000 to take them to school, told DPI that a huge burden has been lifted off her shoulders.
“It is really nice; I am really thankful for it [bus] because before that it was so difficult for me to carry my children and I have to catch a private bus to go there. So, therefore I’m very thankful for the bus so it won’t be so hard for me as to transport our children from here to Bina Hill.”
Treasurer of the Fairview Village Council, Samantha Andres also highlighted the PPP/C Government’s commitment to helping the village. Andres expressed gratitude to President Irfaan Ali for keeping his promise, noting that the PPP/C Government has always supported Fairview.
“I’m very thankful and I wish that he continues to support us and I will continue to look for the support.”
Meanwhile, Minister Sukhai also handed over a tractor to the village council.
She noted that the vehicle, that has a hydraulic dump is to be used to better the village economy. Fairview is one of 137 villages that will be receiving a tractor in 2021.
Toshao Allicock said, “the tractor is very important to us and again I would want to thank the Minister and the Government of Guyana and the President himself for enabling us to have this tractor to do our agriculture, and also to assist us in our logging project. Again, it’s very important, it helps to generate more income for the community by using it as a hire or using it into the forestry fields of doing logging and so with it.”
The tractor also has a plough and a chipper to help in the agriculture sector. (DPI)