…Initial admin budgeted sum is $36M
All things being equal Guyana could be restored to a place of ‘civic pride’ where Guyanese can enjoy a good life in a nation viewed as a hub for commerce, tourism and development.
An initial $36M has been budgeted for an administrative team to oversee this three-phase project that could see some fruits in time for the nation’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations. Ultimately, the plan would be completed as part of Government’s Vision 20/20 plan encapsulating all ten regions of Guyana.
It is no secret that Guyana was dubbed the ‘Land of Hospitality’ and ‘The City of Eldorado’ but over the years the nation has slipped. There has been significant deterioration of many of the attributes that can be uniquely called Guyanese life.
This, according to some, is attributed to unplanned settlements, inadequate traffic flows, garbage buildup and occasional flooding in many areas. Many solutions have been offered following countless studies.
Noting this, on Monday, Major General Joseph Singh said, “The time has come when we need to look at the most updated study, review it, see that it’s as current as possible and then utilize those aspects… then complement them by those with institutional memory of the many experienced persons who are still here and in the Diaspora.”
Offering insights into what is required, Major General (rtd) Singh, Chairman of the Cabinet-appointed National Task Force Commission, told media operatives that the commission will, by the end of this month present its own summary report derived from research and public consultations nationally.
“The Restore Guyana Project is an instrument for the re-branding of Guyana, where Guyanese can be inspired to see the need for self change within ourselves, families, schools, religious institutions, neighbourhoods, communities, regions and country,” Singh said.
The project dubbed a national exercise involves every citizen and those in the Diaspora; some of whom have already contacted the commission seeking ways through which they can be part of the exercise, Singh informed.
The ultimate goals of ‘Project Restore Guyana’ will see much focus on drainage, traffic management, sustainable urban, rural and hinterland as well as physical structure renewal.
Other focus of the Commission as presented by Major General Singh are recommendations on solid waste management and removal of derelict vehicles, welfare management of the homeless, addicted and mentally challenged as they are encountered in the other goals.
Ultimately, re-branding of Guyana through the restoration of ethical, attitudinal, and responsible social and environmental behaviour by all citizens will also be in focus.
Singh said, too, that “only by such systemic changes in ethics, attitudes, behaviour and a sense of responsibility in all of us will the plan be achieved.”
After that is completed Major General Singh said, that the commission is tasked with completing a detailed draft restoration plan by next month. That includes a detailed plan and budget for the activities of phase one of the restoration processes. Phase one has to be done in time for the 50th Independence anniversary. A lot of things have to be done but the most important will be recommended.
“Each region has to supply us with what has to be done in phase one.”
The commission will then deliver a final restoration plan by November and commence the monitoring and implementation process that should be completed by May 5, 2016 in time for Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.
While making it clear that he is not knocking any political party, Singh said that major issues that contributed to Guyana’s slippage include failure to enforce laws and standards, lack of physical planning for growth and renewal, lack of routine and necessary maintenance, general neglect of the poor, homeless, aged, disabled and the less fortunate. He however noted that his team is not focused on dwelling on the past but more of how to deal with the present and the future.
As part of the commission’s plan to manage the process, six public stakeholders’ consultations committees have been set up to ensure that the public is involved in the efforts to rehabilitate and restore Guyana.
The Commission headed by Major General (rtd) Joseph Singh includes Fredrick Flatts, Gordon Gilkes, Geoffrey Bourne, Damian Fernandez, Alex Graham and Dr. Sewnauth Punalall.
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