May 25, 2015 News
By Nicholas Peters
Tomorrow is Independence Day and it would appear that Guyanese all across the Capital City are cooperating to ensure that Georgetown is “spick and span” for the 49th anniversary celebrations, as citizens turned out in their numbers yesterday to clean up the municipality.
From downtown Georgetown to Upper Brickdam, citizens from all walks of life could be seen in their numbers contributing to the restoration of the capital to its former title of the ‘Garden City’.
Civilians, members of corporate Guyana and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), armed with rakes, trucks, gloves, garbage bags, could be seen in parts of Main Street, Water Street, Merriman’s Mall and the Square of the Revolution volunteering their time in improving the environs of the city.
Along the New Vendors Mall, Water Street, civilians and stallholders took it upon themselves to give the shopping strip a face lift. Stallholder Lyndon Hermonstine was one such person, who said that it was newly elected President David Granger’s patriotic fervour that motivated the stallholders to get out cleaning.
“When the President started he said let us cooperate for Guyana and we thought among ourselves that this was a great initiative. So we took up the task of cleaning today.”
As the country is gearing up to celebrate its 49th Independence anniversary the stallholder said that he sees this as the Mall’s contribution to the beautification of the city.
Hermonstine related his wonder at the effort from not only stallholders but by civilians and companies like BK International, since with their assistance volunteers are able to do more than they previously could.
“A task like this a couple months you would’ve heard cost around $50M, but here you see it being done for free and that’s really something,” said Hermonstine.
Meanwhile, as BK International donated the services of its transportation trucks, civilians donated whatever time they could to the Water Street clean up initiative. In the case of Pius Elstob, he donated his “white wash” for painting, along with his time.
The Grove/Diamond New Scheme, East Bank Demerara, resident related that he and his family were making their way home from church when they passed the volunteers and were motivated to join in the restoration effort.
As this particular stretch of street is a major transportation and shopping hub for Guyanese everywhere, Elstob explained that he and his wife felt the need to contribute to its beautification.
“This is what the President was talking about with unity; we must come together as one people, under one nation, working towards one destiny. This isn’t about you, it is about our country,” said Elstob.
Moreover, another civilian volunteer, Pastor Kwama Boris, of the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), said that he sees similar projects spreading throughout the country. He related plans that his congregation has to conduct cleanup initiatives in their community and in surrounding communities along the East Coast of Demerara.
Surrounding vendors, like Selounge Benjamin, expressed pride at the united effort along the Mall. She said that while the Mall is cleaned regularly, it was never on this scale and hopes that it will continue.
Across at the Merriman’s Mall, between Albert and Light Street, Atlantic Cable Network (ACN) staffers could be seen decked out in blue clearing the usually overgrown strip.
One of the managers of ACN, Faizal Milton, explained that the company saw it as their corporate responsibility to maintain the area as long as possible. He said that yesterday was the first of what they want to make a monthly practice, with intentions of installing benches and recreational facilities along the strip.
Among the volunteers, was Kevin Bobb-Semple, a resident of Thomas Street, who said that yesterday’s cleanup had him “really, really stirred up” to restore Georgetown to its Garden City status.
“I think this whole cleanup around Georgetown should be contagious, and should not be a one off something,” said Bobb-Semple. He added that should he see someone litter, he will issue a stern warning for them to desist.
Also noticeably involved in the cleaning process were a number of young people.
“I feel like it is time for change and it’s good to see that everyone is getting involved,” related 22 year-old Sophia Bess. She said that she had never seen cleanup projects like the present drive, and that a change was needed to get them off the ground.
“We saw Gizmos and Gadgets doing it and we hope that other companies get involved and start to clean up Georgetown,” said Bess.
Another young adult was 21 year-old Michael Douglas, who said that he views these cleanup projects as a way to show the new administration that “we are capable of changing our country”. He added that the way forward is through unity.
“I feel motivated in some sense, we’re young and we haven’t really had that opportunity to be part of projects like this,” related the 21 year-old.
Likewise, 19 year-old Dexter Huston said that the collective effort to restore the Garden City is one that brings joy to his heart, since he has also never seen anything like it before. Huston, at the time, was assisting his mentor, Collin Hammond, in brushing up the brass marking on the 1763 Monument at the Square of the Revolution.
“I think young people should learn to be more patriotic and respect the things we have around and enjoy the history and beauty of it,” Huston related.
Hammond added that it was “marvellous” to see the city transform. As a resident in the surrounding community he said that a project like this should have started a long time ago. He said that a lot of folks in the area have begun cleaning in preparation for Independence Day, and what he hopes to be beyond.
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