By Ahreefa Bacchus
For young Pandit Khemraj Singh, the Local Government Elections (LGEs) is providing him an opportunity to lobby for the development he wants to see in his community. Singh is contesting to be a Councillor for Constituency Eight, Herstelling/ Little Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
Speaking with Guyana Times the religious leader, also a supervisor at Guyana Power and Light (GPL), related he is aiming to use this opportunity to address the issues facing the residents of his community, and forging a chance to ensure they are resolved.
He explained that there are not many troubles faced by the community; however, the few they are faced with are major ones. “First and foremost, a major issue we face in Little Diamond is the need for proper drainage. The drainage channels that we have, which are mainly trenches, are rendered almost useless as they have mud build-up and are overgrown with vegetation, and as such the water does not flow freely and remains stagnant,” he explained.
He added that another factor of the poor drainage is the build-up of garbage in these trenches as most residents are without proper garbage disposal facilities and opt to use the trenches.
“The lack of proper means of garbage disposal affects all residents, either directly or indirectly. So if elected, I will be working in collaboration with the Government to resolve this issue. One suggestion I have would be to hire a truck and persons to come around to homes in the community and collect the garbage and take it to a dump site,” he revealed, adding that he would also be requesting that the community be provided with large garbage bins like the ones in the city which would be placed at strategic points in the community.
“I plan to collaborate with other private organisations as well as those organisations focused on environmental preservation and protection to facilitate campaigns to strike out littering in the community,” he revealed.
Singh further explained that the community is not plagued by a high crime rate; however, the residents have voiced their concerns about the need for proper lighting in the streets. “We need street lights, not just for security purposes. When workers are returning home in the evening, they find it difficult to navigate in the dark streets which pose a threat as it is, not necessarily a threat from thieves but from reptiles and other obstacles that may be in their path,” he stated.
He explained that the issue of security is being aptly handled by the Community Policing Group (CPG), and many residents have aired their opinion that the CPG should remain a permanent fixture in the area.
Singh iterated that in terms of developing his Constituency, he will be importuning for the creation of employment within the community. “Most of the persons employed have to travel great distances to get to work. I would be encouraging Central Government to investing in projects which would see the creation of employment opportunities within the area. For example, if they were to provide funding for a market facility… that project would benefit the community in more ways than one. Persons would have an opportunity to earn an income by vending, and residents would have access to a closer market to do their shopping,” Singh posited.
He posited that another opportunity for employment could be provided if the Ministry of Communities allocate the cleanup and drainage projects to residents of the community instead of hiring private firms.
“The persons in the area would be highly appreciative of the income and would do a far better job than a private contractor and his employees as the residents stand to benefit in more ways than one,” he explained.
He related to this publication that he would like to see the provision of recreational facilities for youths. “We need a facility for young people to spend their leisure time engaging in productive activities rather than taking part in delinquent activities,” he explained, adding “we will also be collaborating with the relevant authorities to educate the youths on social issues such as teenage pregnancy, heath issues that affect them and other social scourges such as suicide.”
Voting for development
The contestant encourages residents to vote for him and his other nine Party candidates as they are keen on community development. “It’s not about me… it’s not about the community. We want to see the community develop, so when you are casting your vote, do not look upon face, race, or religion, look at what is best for the community. We want to see the community being developed to its full potential. We want the people’s voices to be heard so that all of us can come together and make decisions that affect us,” he concluded.