Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence highlighted several plans in store for the mining town of Linden during a visit to the region from Thursday to Saturday.
– Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence addressing the residents at the meeting in Linden
Minister Lawrence, along with Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott and a team including social and labour workers had a public meeting with the residents at the Harmony Secondary School in Wismar.
Bernita Primo, a resident of Linden said that some of the schools in the community are in a deteriorated state as she explained that some have damaged windows, doors and poor sanitation areas.
Juliet Atwell, another resident noted that some of the hospitals have little or no lighting while there are limited traffic lights on the roads. She said that this can be dangerous to the residents and need to be addressed urgently.
Morris Hunter spoke of the money deducted from security guards’ salaries and of some nurses not receiving salary while on maternity leave.
Juliet Atwell, a resident of Linden voicing her concerns to the ministerial team
Other residents spoke about social issues affecting teenagers and the region at large.
Minister Lawrence in her response assured the residents that the Government, since assuming office, has committed to bringing the Ministries to the people. “You elected us to serve you and we can’t sit in our offices and serve all of the people, especially far flung communities since it is challenging and costly, the Minister said.
Minister Lawrence explained that from October, women will be contracted by the Ministry to work with teenage mothers in Wismar and on the Soesdyke Highway, to provide them with life skills and help them to find jobs and others, to return to school. “We want to work with NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) for them to come on board to ensure that teachers are trained on social issues apart from regular studies to assist our youths,” the Minister said.
Some of the residents at the meeting in Linden
The Social Protection Minister highlighted that the government is in the process of transferring programmes to government institutions, which will include the extension of entrance age, giving older persons an opportunity to further their studies. This will in turn lead to the creation of employment.
Additionally, Minister Lawrence explained that emphasis will be placed on implementing training in the forestry and gold and mining industries, training women to drive heavy-duty machinery, and to collaborate with the Ministry of Natural Resources to establish a school which will provide training in oil and gas.
Efforts are also underway to execute the gender policy and the government will be collaborating with the University of New York to have the Master’s in Social Work done at the University of Guyana.
Minister Lawrence explained that several other issues have to be dealt with by community leaders in the region. The Minister assured the residents that measures will be in place for the region to work in addressing those issues.
Minister Scott who was excited to be in his hometown, told the residents that his vision is to seek the best way forward in providing employment.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection Keith Scott addressing the residents at the meeting in Linden
Minister Scott pointed out that his Ministry has been working assiduously to address issues affecting the Linden residents. “I can tell you so far that of the 271 persons who have lost their contract with the Mayor and City Council and the Ministry of Communities, 250 were assured employment while the 21 are now being considered positively to be employed through the Ministry of Communities,” the Minister said. Scott noted that his department is committed to addressing labour issues affecting all.
Furthermore, there are plans to resuscitate the schools’ thrift society. “We all know that saving is important and our job as parents is to teach the young ones to save,” Minister Scott said. The Minister noted that his Ministry will visit schools to incorporate this system.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Minister Lawrence assured that her Ministry will visit the region again shortly, and emphasised that all promises will be fulfilled. “You will be a part of the government’s plan of a good life,” the Minister assured.