— Park to be improved
Government has determined that the Durban Park Jubilee Stadium will remain intact after all, rather than carry out an earlier plan to have sections of the stands dismantled and moved to community centre grounds around the country.
President David Granger, who was asked on his weekly televised programme about the fate of the structures which were originally erected to seat crowds observing the 50th Jubilee celebrations last month, said “With regards to (the structure) it is now unlikely that those stands will be dismantled.”
“We have had a second look at it and the Durban Park is an institution which people have started to use. We’ve had requests and the churches have used the facility. We’ve had other social functions (and) parades have been held there.”
In view of these factors the President stated that Durban Park, the “single largest stadium in the country”, will be preserved as a place for public purposes. He stated that not only will the stands not be dismantled, but the area will be improved and protected against vandalism and any unsafe practices.
“The present thinking is that the park will be improved and kept intact as Guyana’s major place for public events.”
Asked about what would be done for those community grounds that were earmarked to receive the stands, Granger stated that that was the next step.
“We are looking at developing facilities in the capital towns (like) Lethem, Bartica, Mabaruma and Anna Regina, which could be venues for public events. But dismantling these stands is literally off the table.”
In May, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson had indicated that some of the stands were temporary and some were permanent. He had stated that the temporary ones would have gone to selected community grounds around the country.
The President was also asked about the final costs of the project and who the donors were. The project is a public/private partnership arrangement and when it was started in 2015 there had been questions about who were the financiers.
Back in February, Coordinator of the project, Larry London, 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 had reportedly donated services, with some pledging cash. Others had 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.
While Granger did not say who the donors were, he also noted that at this point he could not say how much had been spent.
“There were two phases, which you could call a public, private phase in which there were donations and then a purely government phase in which Government funds were expended. I do not have any report before cabinet regarding the overall expenditure.”
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