A dozen benches for the seawall By Abigail Kippins
Guyana Chronicle
February 6, 2002

`I hope the citizens themselves will appreciate the need to care them...these benches were provided for the people to enjoy the ambience, the beauty and the healthy environment of the seawall' - Mayor Hamilton Green

TOURISM, Industry and Commerce Minister, Mr. Manzoor Nadir yesterday handed over one dozen benches to Housing and Water Minister, Mr. Shaik Baksh to be installed along the Georgetown seawall in an effort to improve the comfort and beauty of the area.

Minister Baksh in turn handed over the benches to Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Hamilton Green.

The provision of the benches followed a collaborative effort between UNIPLAS and the Ministry of Tourism. The benches were made of fibreglass - reinforced plastic.

The other benches on the seawall bandstand were also made by UNIPLAS some 30 years ago and the company will repair the few damaged ones, representatives said.

In 1999 Cabinet had designated the Central Housing and Planning Authority as the lead agency to deal with the seawall development and last year the Tourism Ministry, in its budget, allocated some funds to help replace and repair some of the benches and provide lighting for the area.

Some lighting has already been provided and Nadir said the cost of that and the benches amounted to about $2M.

Baksh's ministry will be responsible for forming a committee to be represented by members of the Ministry of Tourism, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Lands Commission, the Central Housing and Planning Authority and the municipality to look at approaches towards promoting the development of the seawall.

"It is long overdue and we have to move in an accelerated way...I envisage that the private sector will have an important role in the total development of the area, so in the end we can provide more comfort for the citizens of Georgetown...," Baksh said in brief remarks at the handing over yesterday morning.

He noted that the benches are indicative of the things to come for the total development of the area.

Baksh recalled that two years ago a seawall development plan was completed after full consultation with all stakeholders, including the municipality. He noted that the plan formed an integral part of the Greater Georgetown development plan for which consultation has been completed and there were also further consultations with the municipality. He pointed out that the municipality has an integral part to play in the development of the city.

The minister also explained that the seawall plan caters for three kinds of development including the leisure/recreational zone, which stretches from Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel to Industry, East Coast Demerara, and will cover landscaping, musical entertainment, children's park and mobile vending units, among other facilities.

Another area is for more intensive development - the ocean resort and entertainment zone and two areas have been identified for that - one north-east of Kitty and another west of the Ogle gas station. This, Baksh said, will cater for more permanent commercial activities.

"The whole idea now is to move this plan forward. I am appreciative of the work that has been done by the Ministry of Tourism in presenting the benches for the comfort of the citizens....", he stated, noting that more lighting and landscaping are needed.

Mayor Green said the City Council is pleased to be a part of the significant movement to enhance the appearance of the city and feels the effort of the Ministry of Tourism should be highly commended.

"The seawall will always have particular significance and meaning and is a place where the genesis for many of us started...we therefore need to ensure that it remains a place of beauty, comfort and safety", he stated.

Green said the seawall must remain a focal point of the city, pointing out that it was not intended to be a place of beauty but a means of defence to save the city.

He said by working together, the area can be made into a place of beauty, comfort and safety.

"...when these benches are installed, I hope the citizens themselves will appreciate the need to care them. We have done many things in the city and in the society, but there seems to be culture of destruction, uncaring and callousness...people must come here with a sense of pride.

"These benches were provided for the people to enjoy the ambience, the beauty and the healthy environment of the seawall", he stated.