Regional Chairman of Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) Senor Bell has expressed outrage over recent media reports that a sanitary block with four toilets was built at a school in the region at a cost of $11.7M.
Bell said that allegations made by the Alliance For Change (AFC) about the sanitary facility at the school at Chenapau, Upper Potaro River was a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
The allegations had also been made either as a result of a profound ignorance about the geographic peculiarities of that part of Region Eight or a failed attempt at lying by omission.
Bell explained that the $11.7 M expended at the school was not spent on the toilet alone, but also on fencing of the compound, on the acquisition and installation of a solar panel, and on the acquisition and installation of a water pump powered by the solar system.
“The school toilet was just one element of the $11.7M package,” he said.
He stressed too that the remoteness and relative inaccessibility of Chenapau had been a major factor in the relatively high cost of the project.
“There was no airstrip at Chenapau at that time. As a result, getting the construction materials into the village entailed transporting every single piece by air from Ogle to Kaieteur airstrip by air, transporting them on foot from Kaieteur to Menzies Landing, then loading them onto boats for a 30 mile journey up the Potaro river to Chenapau.
“Due to these factors, any project in that part of Region Eight will cost at least three times as much as a similar project in Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica,” he said.
He said, “ I would give the AFC person making the report one bag of sugar, one bag of flour, and one bag of rice, free of charge in
Georgetown, and let them see how much it would cost them to get those items to Chenapau. For just these three items, he would find that it would cost him at least $40,000, not a cent less”
Both the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News newspapers had carried reports about the $11.7M toilet block at Chenapau, suggesting corruption by the persons involved.
The media reports were made as a result of information provided by
some members of the AFC during a press conference last week.
These were members who had just returned from a visit to communities in Region Eight.