By: Indrawattie NatramPublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson has promised residents of Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) better infrastructure, noting that poor infrastructure in any given area can stymie development. Patterson was at the time speaking at the Flag Raising Ceremony held on Wednesday 25 May by the Region Two administration to commemorate the country’s Independence Jubilee.During his address, the minister said last year his ministry constructed, rehabilitated and maintained roads across the country, adding that 8500 meters of roads were completed within the region with over $146 million expended in projects.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and the Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt taking the saluteFor this year residents in region two will continue to see development along the roadway, citing that in the 2016 Budget $2.6B was allocated for roadworks and Region Two will receive a slice of the pie. For bridges he noted nearly $294 million will be provided for rehabilitation and repairs.Through improved roadways there will be an expansion of farm-to-market access with the aim of stimulating microfarms and small-scale agro-processing.“Better roadways and bridges mean increased commercial activities, which in turn will lead to greater income and financial security for the people of Region Two” the minister said.Emphasis will also be placed on reducing road fatalities through the installation of traffic lights, street lights, road markings and signage.In addition, Patterson noted that government’s focus will be on improving the connection among Essequibo Coast and riverine areas… Government is therefore looking towards upgrading stellings (wharves) to facilitate the new vessels.According to the minister, preparations are already in train not only to upgrade but reconstruct facilities throughout the country. For Region Two a state-of-the-art waterfront facility will be established in Supenaam.The project will focus on broadwalks; modernized ramps for ferries and water taxis; a dockyard for yachts and recreational areas. The project he said will generate income through tourism for the region as well as create spin-off economic opportunities for small businesses.The residents and current users will be given first option to jobs and concessions for the project, Patterson said.New river transport vesselsPatterson highlighted that his government in addressing the connection issues of the riverine areas will be providing new river transport vessels. According to him, government has recognized how much adequate river transport networks stymies the development of the Coast and its people.The minister explained that a major focus is needed to improve the ferry services as well as to upgrade the aging fleet. He said the current vessels are approaching the end of their usefulness and government is working to acquire new vessels.“The complaints of the ferry services offering in Essequibo have not fallen on deaf ears, the people of Essequibo have felt neglected for too long but today, as we prepare to usher in 50 years of Independence, I declare that Essequibo will earn the respect and prestige it so deserves” Patterson explained to loud applause.The Public Infrastructure Minister said even before Guyana attained Independence in 1966, Essequibo had a rich history from the Dutch producing a large percentage of Guyana’s rice. He implored regional officials to work together in unity in moving the Region forward.