The Committee of Supply of the National Assembly last evening approved the sum of $2.6B for Region One, Barima Waini. The area which covers 20,339 square kilometres and lists Mabaruma as its Administrative Center, will see sums being spent on Regional Administration, Education, Public Works/Infrastructure and, Health Services.
The allocation will be utilised as follows;
Regional Education -$1.290B
Regional – Public Works $3.418M
Regional Health Services-$768.638M
Among the projects planned are:
Construction of Kumaka and Mabaruma wharfs -$8M
Provision of schools at Waramuri, Baramita, and Matthews Ridge, and extension of teachers’ quarters at Wauna, Moruca and Kwebanna-$80M
Construction of Regional Democratic Council’s Administration Building at Mabaruma-$10M
Enclosure of an Administration Building at Port Kaituma- $8M
Road repairs and maintenance at Barabina Hill, (DBST Road), Bunbury Road, Kumaka District Hospital Road, Manawarin Road, Mabaruma Airstrip, and Moruca Road-$18M
Purchasing of buses, boats and out board engines – $23M
Upgrading of Health Post and nurses’ quarters at Baramita, and construction of living quarters at Manawarin, and Kwebanna-$70M
Former Minister, and Opposition Member of Parliament, Pauline Sukhai raised questions about the stipends for Toshaos being increased in light of what they view as a higher cost of living. Minister Ronald Bulkan, in response said that there was no provision in the allocations for increased stipends.
Opposition Member of Parliament, Colin Croal also raised a question of a dedicated vehicle being assigned to the Regional Vice Chairman but this was countered by the Minister who stated that there was a dedicated vehicle provided to the Regional Chairman which could also be used by the deputy.
The National Consultative Committee will hold meetings to determine the effectiveness of the RDCs in 2017, and each Region will participate in the consultative process to better manage their affairs. This committee, Minister Bulkan assured will boost local democracy. He was responding to queries raised by Opposition MP, Pauline Sukhai.
The sums for Regional Administrations and Finance, Public Works/ Capital Expenditure were then approved.
Opposition MP, Ganga Persaud raised a question about the allocation for hot meals and whether the allocation catered for all the students. Minister Bulkan stated that only dorms at Port Kaituma and Santa Rosa will benefit from this allocation under his Ministry. Schools, including nursery will be provided for under the allocations of the Ministry of Education. The sums stated for Education Delivery and Capital Expenditure, Health Services and Capital Expenditure were then approved.