SAVITRI Sooklall is a small business operator, a cake maker, who caters to events with her creative designs in icing cakes and cup cakes made to order and she does it right from home.
Sooklall is a resident of Stewartville South, West Coast Demerara and a single mother of two, who was once employed at a supermarket in Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.
The 32-year-old told the Pepperpot Magazine that her last catering job, a specially made icing cake was for a birthday on Easter weekend.
She stated that she separated from her husband 18 months ago, and she has to earn to support her children.
Sooklall resides at the home of her father, a cane harvester, and she does the cooking for him.
Even though making icing cakes isn’t an everyday job, it is still an income and also not a big money earner.
“It was always my desire to become self-employed and when I could, I started out on my own, utilising my skill to bake cakes and icing it to suit customers,” she said.
Sooklall has a lovely home which is very clean and tidy, complimented with a well-kept yard.
Ganesh Sooklall, the cane harvester
Meanwhile, her father, Ganesh Sooklall, 54, a sugar worker attached to Leonora Sugar Estate, was at home relaxing that day and he was reclining in the outdoor hammock.
He is a local of the village and he pretty much stays to himself and doesn’t mix up too much with the neighbours.
Sooklall likes the quiet of the community and is pleased that their once mud dam was upgraded to an all-weather road.
He reported that the village has developed since he first moved in the street and is quite happy about the changes that have enhanced his life.
Stewartville/Cornelia Ida Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) manages six villages and oversees developmental works in all the communities that come under their catchment area.
Overseer, Savitri Gopaul of the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC told the Pepperpot Magazine that internal streets are being upgraded, and some are completed while drainage and infrastructural works are ongoing in all the villages.
Gopaul said the six villages that come under the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC are Stewartville, Leonora, Groenveldt, Edinburg, Anna Catherina and Cornelia Ida.
She reported that they have five new housing schemes in these villages and under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) they have been trying their utmost to maintain the drains and parapets.
Gopaul added that they have partnered with the Ministry of Infrastructure to upgrade many internal streets in the six villages.
She related that 20 councillors including the Deputy Chairman, manage the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC.
The Overseer pointed out that the NDC controls building, infrastructure and the collection of rates and taxes.
She stated that they have 10 constituencies and also process building applications, approval and recommendations, and cleaning of drains and parapets.
They do not do any garbage collection since they do not have a landfill site in the region, and it is too costly for the undertaking because they do not own a garbage truck.
Gopaul added that they have a tractor/trailer with a slasher and that is often utilised for the maintenance of parapets along the main public road, schools and community centre grounds.
Recently they were gifted a brand-new tractor via central government for community development, but they desperately need a mini excavator to upgrade the drainage and irrigation network in the catchment villages they oversee.
The Overseer told the Pepperpot Magazine that they need skip bins for garbage collection and residents have been slow in paying up their rates and taxes.
She disclosed that only 90 per cent of locals pay up and it is not enough to do any real developmental works in the villages.
Gopaul reported that the new housing scheme of Stewartville South will accommodate more than 1100 house lots and that development is expected to occur soon, since allocation was done.
She noted that even though some people do not pay any rates and taxes, they make demands and they still have to provide services.