Mar 12, 2016 News
The historic Umana Yana is one giant step closer to completion. The deadline for its completion is April 30.
On Monday, the Wai Wai builders spearheaded by Toshao Paul Chekema completed the essential structure of the national treasure, including the roof.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure commenced construction of the foundation and the casting of the concrete floor on November 18, last. That aspect of the works was completed last December.
Giving an update of the situation, the Ministry of the Indigenous People’s Affairs said that Toshao Chekema and his 35-man work team got into the action on February 5, last.
“This highly skilled and professional team of very young men set about their work with purpose and vigour. Their unwavering commitment, evident in every aspect of their work, has resulted in the erection of our National treasure – the Umana Yana – in its present form in exactly 31 days. All of Guyana is proud of them. The Ministry owes them a debt of gratitude.”
The Ministry said that having completed on Monday the aspect of works for which they were contractually responsible, the team of Wai Wai builders were yesterday paid in full the contract sum for the works done.
“They will now have some time to visit key areas of the city and to engage in relaxing activities before returning to their homes in Region Nine.”
According to the Ministry, the Wai Wai “brothers” have benefitted from a total of $30.5M in total from the project.
“The value of their earnings from direct labour is $14.2 million while the remaining sum relates to material supplied and other logistical cost consideration. The Ministry is aware of the efforts by wicked elements to create an environment of mistrust between it and the builders in both the conventional and social media. These efforts are intended to destroy the excellent relations enjoyed by the Ministry and all Indigenous peoples, Villages and Communities. Such efforts are wasted.”
The Ministry said the efforts to divide will never succeed.
“No attempt to politicise, manipulate or misrepresent the innocuous and sincere statements made in good faith by our Wai Wai brothers, or any Indigenous group for that matter will succeed. The Ministry condemns in the strongest possible terms this most vicious and distasteful attempt by a few to vilify the Government of Guyana and to injure its relations with Guyanese citizens.”
The Ministry said it has noted and reject panderings to racism by a certain Member of Parliament (MP) in a social media post.
“This MP is one of the main ingredients used by the People’s Progressive Party to divide our Indigenous Villages and Communities over the years. Having failed our Indigenous Peoples while in Government, the People’s Progressive Party, this MP and other mischievous opposition elements have continued on their chosen path to ensure the destruction of relationships and value systems and to derail government’s developmental agenda. They shall never succeed.”
The Ministry said that it remains resolute in its mission to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance.
The remaining works on the Umana Yana will resume on Monday.
Still to be completed are the wall, fence, floor, stage and the electrification of the facility. These works are expected to be completed by April 30.
The Umana Yana was burnt to the ground in September 2014.
The original building is a conical palm thatched hut (benab) erected for the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in Georgetown, Guyana in August 1972 as a V.I.P. Lounge and recreation centre.
Situated on Main Street next to Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel, it is now a permanent and much admired part of Georgetown’s scenery, and is in constant use as an exhibition and conference centre.
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