Guyanese Communities To Benefit From Solar Streetlights

(DPI, 21.Mar.2021) — Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall has said more communities across Guyana will soon benefit from the installation of solar streetlights.

This initiative will be undertaken through the Ministry’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP).

Speaking with DPI, Minister Dharamlall said the Ministry is looking to increase the lights’ wattage for added brightness, since the those installed previously were between 80 to 100 wattage as a result of the Ministry’s budget constraints.

Nigel Dharamlall. Source: DPI

“I went through the records of the previous administration and I found the previous administration in some instances bought the streetlight systems from up to $198,000 for one. In the current circumstances, we are paying between $14,000 to $20,000 depending on the wattage so more villages will get this year,” he said.

With this in mind, the Minister urged residents to properly care for these facilities since the Ministry has been alerted to a few instances of vandalism.

“We have received reports already that a few have been vandalised so I would like to call on villagers as well to ensure that this part of your enhancement infrastructures that they take good care of it.”

Some 280 solar streetlights were installed in several communities in Mahaica-Berbice Region (Region Five) in an exercise that spanned February and March.

Regional Chairman Mr. Vickchand Ramphal told DPI the project provides a vital service for the Region as it contributes to the safety and security of citizens, businesses, residential spaces and even the hosting of recreational activities.  It also enhances road safety, particularly for drivers and pedestrians travelling at night. As such, the Region’s 10 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils each received 28 lights.

The beneficiaries were Woodlands/Farm, Hamlet/Chance, Mahaicony/Abary, Profit/Rising Sun, Seafield/Tempie, Union/Naarstigheid, Bath/Woodley Park, Woodlands/Bel Air, Zeelugt/Rosignol and Blairmont/Gelderland NDCs.

In the latter half of 2020, the Ministry began to install about 300 solar streetlights in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six.

Coordinator of Engineering Services at the Ministry, Mr. Naeem Khan said this intervention was the first phase of a much wider programme that would see the lights being strategically placed across the country.

“The idea is to ensure that all communities have streetlights so that residents can be safe.  We are looking to continue the programme with the intent of increasing the number of lights being installed moving forward. The programme as it is, we are looking at 5,000 streetlights over four years,” he said.

This initiative is in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s manifesto promise to implement programmes that enhance the lives of all Guyanese by creating safe communities. Since its establishment in 2014, the CIIP has benefited thousands of citizens and communities by enhancing safety, aesthetics and creating jobs. The Government has budgeted about $1.1 billion for Community Enhancement Workers (CEWs) who fall under the CIIP to continue its agenda.

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By Neola Damon, Guyana’s Department of Public Information (DPI)