Apr 20, 2016 News
– Public Infrastructure takes charge
An ambitious project to transform the D’Urban Park area is facing delays, with President
David Granger yesterday pulling it away from the Ministry of the Presidency. The project will now be handled by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
The project was being spearheaded by the Ministry of the Presidency, with critical sections geared to be ready for Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations on May 26th.
When completed, the facility will consist of a tree-shaded promenade, stadium and health and recreational facilities. The project was announced several weeks ago, but there were little details about how it is being financed, except that monies were coming from private donations
Coordinator of the project, Larry London, back in February, had indicated that the project is a Government and private sector partnership with meetings being held with a number of businesses for possible support.
Several businesses have reportedly donated services, with some pledging cash. Others have extended credit.
London had emphasised that they “have not collected a cent yet from any businesses”, as it was the intention to put transparent systems in place to ensure no questions are asked as to how monies are spent.
However, the project received negative publicity which spoke of poor quality work and questions of transparency. That negative publicity apparently caught the attention of President Granger.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency yesterday, President Granger has mandated the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, to immediately assume full responsibility for the D’urban Park Development Project.
The President in the statement assured that safety and quality work will be among the hallmarks of the completed facility.
At a meeting, held yesterday at the Ministry of the Presidency, at which Minister Patterson; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan; Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips; Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry and other staffers of the Ministry of the Presidency were present, the President made it clear that the safety of the users of the park must be the first priority.
”I want to emphasise the seriousness of this. Our intention is to make D’urban Park the most useful, if not the most beautiful in the Caribbean, so it is not something short term. It is a symbol of nationhood… We want it to be a space that is beautiful, safe and open to the public. Safety must be assured now that it’s a national project and Minister Patterson will now take responsibility for that,” President Granger said.
Emphasising that D’urban Park is now a national project and must reflect national standards, President Granger said that the park reflects national identity and takes precedence over municipal, partisan, commercial and private interests.
”There were some delays because of the presentation of the budget. As you know, last year was the financial year from the view of the Government, but we couldn’t do much work until March because the budget hadn’t been passed, but now, I would say that there isn’t any need for apprehension. The project is a national project. It is not a private project. It is national [project] and that is why it is under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. The concerns of safety and infrastructure are all being addressed and Guyanese needn’t worry. They are going to be very proud of what they see on May 25 and 26,” President Granger said.
Minister Patterson, in an invited comment, said that the ministry’s engineers and other technical personnel have already visited the site and analysed the work which has to be done.
While pointing out that the task is not beyond the Ministry’s capabilities, he acknowledged that the current weather conditions might present some challenges.
However, Patterson assured that his team will be working assiduously to ensure that the mandate given by the President, as well as the deadline, are met.
”We want to ensure that the project comes back on stream and so the resources of the Ministry of the Presidency will be used. We want to ensure that a quality product is delivered on time, with the relevant safety measures in place. The Guyanese people can be assured that the concerns have been noted and it will be addressed to ensure that public safety is guaranteed,” Minister Patterson said.
The Guyana Defence Force’s Engineers Corps will also be on hand to lend assistance where needed.
According to the project documents which were circulated earlier this year to a number of businesses for donations, it is the intention to host several events to celebrate the country’s jubilee milestone. Thousands of overseas visitors are expected to be here for the celebrations. Several projects are also underway in other regions.
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