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$3 million bridge contract to improve education access for Wakapoa Children

Regional Executive Officer Devenand Ramdatt [extreme Left] along with Toshoa Periera [extreme Right] during the sign off 

Access to education within the community of Wakapoa will see tremendous improvement, following the construction of a new bridge, for which $3 million has been allocated. The project will be funded by savings, allocated from the Regional Democratic Council, Region Two. This publication understands that the money will be channelled directly to the Wakapoa Village Council, which will then undertake the project under the RDC’s supervision.

During a simple ceremony on Friday, the Regional Executive Officer, Devenand Ramdatt, signed off on the allocation. On the receiving end of the table, was Toshao of Wakapoa, Lloyd Pereira and his Deputy Toshao, Troy Williams.

Wakapoa is an indigenous community located on the Western bank of the Lower Pomeroon River. The population consists of almost two thousand residents, scattered across over twenty islands, which accounts for most of the community. The area that will benefit specifically from the project, however, is known as Curemeru.

Toshao Lloyd Pereira, explained that not only does this area hold a nursery school, but it is also attached to the main land, which means it is the gateway to the jungle. Pereira said that this creates a problem, as children from various islands, between the ages of four to five, have to journey a total of six miles to access an education.

The Toshao also explained that the six miles trail, is a narrow path, canopied densely by trees. This journey, the Toshao added, can be dangerous for a number of reasons. He went on to say, “since the community [Curemeru] is on the main land, it leads to the rainforest. During the dry season jaguars will usually come out of the rainforest in search of water, and once we had one that came very close to the school, imagine what would have happened if these children were walking to, or from school and this jaguar had attacked.”

Toshao Pereira said that the objective of the bridge construction, is to shorten the distance for children attending school, by bridging a shorter route within the area.

According to the REO, project will have additional economic benefits to the community, since it was not contracted to a contractor. “We are awarding it not to a contractor, but through the village council… the community will benefit from the economic stand point where the village economy will benefit from the $3 million, since materials and employment will be sourced from within the community.” Said Ramdatt.

The Big Smith News Watch was told that once consultations are concluded by the first week of June, construction of the bridge will commence.