– “Founders of Queenstown left a rich legacy” – Min. Mustapha tells villagers
Sunday, villagers from Queenstown on the Essequibo Coast (Region Two) hosted a memorial and thanksgiving ceremony to mark the village’s 181st anniversary.
During the ceremony Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while representing H.E. President Dr. Irfaan Ali, told villagers that the ceremony highlights the value of the efforts and the rich legacy left by the founding fathers of the village and all those who fought for freedom many years ago.
“I wish to commend the members of the Queenstown Development Association for holding the Inter-Religious Memorial Thanksgiving service to honour the 181st anniversary of the founding of the village of Queenstown. Such events are important in helping to keep alive the memory, hard work, and sacrifices of those who committed their efforts to the founding of this village. The fact that we can have this memorial thanksgiving service today – 181 years after, speaks to the value of their efforts and the rich legacy they left us. We must also commend the descendants, the successive committees, and villages for keeping that legacy alive. It speaks to the importance of continuity and to the need for enlightenment for generations over time,” the minister said.
The minister also cautioned villagers against falling prey to political gimmicks aiming to cause division and racism.
“We must beware of actions that are aimed at dividing us as a people and as a nation. We must dismiss those who set out to fan the flames of racism. We’ve seen what those actions have caused in other countries. Entire villages and tribes were slaughtered because of those actions. We must emulate the attitudes and actions of our fore parents who worked to ensure these villages were developed to benefit and uplift our people,” he added.
Minister Mustapha also took the opportunity to remind villagers of the many interventions implemented by the government over the last two years.
“When we took office in August 2020, we immediately began work to reverse some of the harsh measures that were placed on the backs of our citizens. We removed the VAT on agriculture equipment and supplies, medical supplies, water, and electricity, and reversed the increases in land rentals and D&I charges. For our school-aged children, we re-introduced and increased the ‘Because We Care’ grant where every child who attends school, public and private, received $30,000 this year. This will increase to $50,000 per child by 2025. Thousands of scholarships were also awarded to our citizens. We also recently restarted the school feeding programme and we and constantly working to improve critical infrastructure such as pumps, sluices, farm-to-market roads, and dams all while working to improve and deliver better health care and access to affordable housing,” he noted.
The minister informed villagers that several initiatives will soon come on stream following commitments made by the Head of State and Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during their ministerial outreaches in the region earlier this year.
“Our government remains committed to working with every community and every Guyanese to build a One Guyana. The Chairman in his address had some questions so I want to respond and let you know where we are with some of the commitments made not so long ago. You raised the issue about the regulators. The BIDs have since been advertised and we will soon be awarded so that Queenstown can have three new regulators. The Chairman also mentioned a trench that needs to be cleaned. I will ask the NDIA to work on having that trench and any other trench that is blocked cleaned. We will also give the maintenance contract to the village so that the beneficiaries can do those works. The Ministry of Agriculture is committed to working with every villager to develop agriculture. As a government, when we make commitments and promises, we deliver on them because we know the impact these initiatives will have on the lives of our citizens,” he said.
Minister Mustapha also participated in a wreath-laying exercise at a monument that was constructed 100 years after the village was granted village status.
Villagers are set to participate in a number of activities during the week as part of the anniversary observances.
Queenstown’s first village council was established in 1847 after villagers applied for and were granted village status.