Residents of Lethem and surrounding communities will now have access to a better quality of service from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI). The water company commissioned its commercial office in the town on April 12, the first of its kind in a hinterland region.
The new office is equipped with a mini laboratory and is manned by about a dozen staff members including an engineer. It will now cater for commercial customers, and serve as a location for query, rectification and payments.
Fourth Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock said that the project is timely, as it allows the residents of Lethem and surrounding areas to have access to a better quality of service.
Minister Allicock noted that, “to have an office or space to administer the business of water in any community is very useful and very critical for the survival of any community and the people. While it took some time to come here, it was the research that had to be done, the consultation.”
The Vice President said that Lethem as township needed a proper system in place where the residents benefit from the flow of adequate and potable water. He said that it is the government’s wish to ensure every family benefits from such service.
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings-Williams explained that GWI is currently in the process of registering Lethem’s domestic customers, and very soon, the water company will be expanding its services throughout the Region.
Minister Hastings-Williams noted that the laboratory will allow for a system where field officers can go out to the various locations, for instance, the schools and hospitals to collect samples. “The samples can be tested to ensure that water being delivered to those areas is safe for consumption. Our people, hospitals and schools must have adequate supply of water, whereby residents, children and patients must be confortable when they are referred from outlying communities,” Minister Hastings-Williams said.
“This government is one that goes about doing business in consultation (with our citizens) and we are going to have a community meeting by month-end to discuss and iron out how they will go about making payments (for the water),” Minister Hastings-Williams said.
When Lethem was declared a town, the Ministry of Communities and its agency, GWI took on that mandate to develop the municipality by ensuring that the people have access to potable water.
She said that this new initiative also created employment for young persons from Lethem. “So water is also about jobs, creating jobs because as we continue to expand our services, we will need to employ more persons… And that’s the way we want to go as a Government, where ever we go and install a new office or project we must be able to employ persons within that area,’ the Minister added.
She implored the residents to continue to cooperate with the local office, as they strive to provide quality service.
Chief Executive Officer, GWI, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles highlighted the water company’s mission, which is to provide quality of service to the people. “We have a responsibility to serve all citizens across the country, hence we have to take that seriously, and we have to be able to communicate with all citizens; we have to be able to hear from all citizens in terms of the systems we have functioning and in terms of identifying the need for other systems across the country,” he explained.
Dr. Van West-Charles highlighted that one of the important messages that come from the President is that there is no difference in terms of the quality of life of citizens on the coast and those in the hinterland, “And it is for this reason that GWI is looking at the services it delivers and one of the most important things in life is access to water and therefore we are taking this mandate very seriously,”he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Lethem, Carlton Beckles said that it is important that the town’s residents have access to potable water through their taps. It is one of the many amenities that come with township status. He however, is asking for the water company to consult with the residents and businesses on the issue of metering and billing.
Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock said that the laboratory is very important, because for years the schools and hospitals and residents were receiving contaminated water. He expressed gratitude to the government for implementing such a service in Region Nine.
By: Synieka Thorne
Mayor of Lethem, Carlton Beckles
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams
Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock
Guyana Water Incorporated’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Richard Van West-Charles
Government officials taking a tour of the Guyana Water Incorporated’s Lethem branch
Government officials being assisted by a student to cut the ribbon to officially open the Guyana Water Incorporated’s Lethem branch
Fourth Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock