$832M pumped into Sophia over the years: – Former Housing Minister debunks President Granger’s claims of ‘neglect’


More than 14,210 persons have benefited from an over $832M investment in the Sophia scheme over the years.
Therefore, claims by President David Granger that the community has been neglected and faced with severe injustice over the last two decades are misleading.
Records show that over the years, the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Housing and Water, has made significant investments in the Sophia area.

The Ministry of Housing and Water, under its Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) arm, had invested more than $832M in the Sophia areas.

Former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, in an interview with the Guyana Times, explained that in 2004, the CHPA had undertaken, in five major projects to the tune of in excess of $566.7M, for the construction of roads, drains and structures in Farmer’s Field, Plum Park, Block “A”, Block “B”, and Block “C” Sophia.

This investment saw services being given to in excess of 2,960 house lots, benefiting approximately more than 9,129 persons.

The year 2005 saw Section “D” Sophia and Block “F Sophia being upgraded with roads, drains and structures to the tune of more than $51.2M.

This investment serviced more than 510 house lots, bringing benefits to approximately more than 2,091 persons.
In 2010, the Ministry of Housing and Water, made a further investment of more than $214M for the construction of roads, drains and structures in Section “D” Sophia and Area “R” Sophia.

This additional investment saw services being provided to more than 730 house lots, benefiting approximately more than 2,990 persons.

“These investments totalling more than $832M in the Sophia areas under the Central Housing and Planning Authority saw benefits going to more than 14,210 persons and more than 4,200 house lots. This means that the government would have invested more than $198,095 for every household in the above areas in Sophia. Taken further, it means that the government would have invested more than $58,550 for every individual living in these areas,” Ali explained.

President Granger, during the commissioning ceremony of a new water distribution system in Sophia, declared that the people of Sophia had suffered “years of injustices” and painted the impression that the community was majorly deprived.

But the Ministry of Housing and Water, under the Guyana Water Incorporated, has invested more than $400M capital investments within the Sophia Service.

Ali recalled that the major interventions within the project area comprise the construction of a new state of the art Iron Removal Water Treatment Plant at Sophia; the construction of a new water well at Cummings Lodge; and service connection Upgrades and Metering in Sophia (Farmers Field, Plum Park and Blocks A-D).

He noted that the objective outcome of these interventions is the improvement of quality and level of service offered to more than 30,000 residents.

The former Minister also pointed out that the new Sophia Water Treatment Plant, which was commissioned in 2011, is a state-of-the-art facility which comprises a modern energy efficient gravity type water treatment technology.
“This plant utilizes a sodium hypochlorite generation system, which aids in the chlorine purification process. It is complemented by aerators and lime dosing systems, which aid in the adjustment of concentration ions (Acidity and Alkaline) content, oxidation tanks that facilitate the removal of iron via filtration and backwash lagoons.

This new facility successfully serves the population in and around Sophia A. Field, Sophia B. Field, Bel Air and Prashad Nagar,” he explained.

Ali also highlighted that the new water well in Cummings Lodge, which was commissioned in October 2011, effectively serves residents in Sophia “E” to “C” fields while the ongoing Service Connection Upgrades and metering program is geared to strengthen and consolidate existing service connections effectively reducing non-revenue water while boosting up service levels.

He surmised that the total intervention within the Sophia by the Guyana Water Incorporated equates to a per capita investment of GYD $14,000.

“Cumulatively, the CHPA and the GWI, which together make up the Ministry of Housing and Water, have invested more than GYD $1.23 billion in the Sophia areas,” he posited, completely debunking the recent utterances by the Head of State.