President visits Parika, pleased with vendors mall construction by Shirwin Campbell
Guyana Chronicle
January 5, 2004

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Vendors and shoppers at Parika Market received a pleasant surprise yesterday morning when President Bharrat Jagdeo paid an impromptu visit to that East Bank Essequibo community.

The visit, which was two-fold, lasted some two hours before the President departed for the East Coast to meet with residents affected by flooding.

President Jagdeo visited one of Guyana's busy commercial zones to observe progress in the construction of a $57.8 million market mall and to interact with members of the community.

Braving intermittent showers, President Jagdeo, accompanied by a team of regional officials, met with vendors, shoppers and even passengers as some vehicles stopped to greet the President.

During his tour he listened to concerns raised, offered advice, provided clarifications and took time out to meet with children accompanying their parents, and then facilitated those who wanted to take pictures with him.

In a brief meeting with the media at Parika market after the visit, President Jagdeo noted that he was pleased to see the progress of the mall under construction for the vendors who are presently occupying the roadway.

He expressed the hope that the construction would conclude in a timely manner, noting that it is a huge investment.

The construction of the multi-million dollar mall at Parika is expected to ease congestion and provide much-needed relief at one of the biggest weekend roadside markets in Guyana.

The project, funded by Government through SIMAP, was awarded to Courtney Benn Contracting Services Ltd of 28 'B', New Providence, East Bank Demerara.

During that signing July 25, 2003 Hydronie NDC Chairman Mr. Milton Dookie had stated that on any given Sunday more than 600 vendors are engaged in commercial activities, in the process circulating an estimated $5 million around Parika Stelling.

The NDC Chairman had also pointed out that the massive commercial activity is presently disorganized with the road leading up to the Stelling congested, causing traffic jams since that area has to be cordoned off.

The current situation is also responsible for excessive littering, and places an added burden on the garbage disposal system and expense, he added.

Vendors travel from as far as Georgetown, the islands of Wakeenam and Leguan and villages along the Essequibo River.

Through this initiative regional authorities will be in a better position to regularize and monitor commercial activities at Parika.

No vending will be allowed outside the mall when it is constructed, and all permanent structures will be demolished, the Chairman had stated.

With plans in place to establish Parkia as a town, the community needs a face-lift and the environment must be enhanced, he was also quoted as saying at the signing ceremony last year.

The project is located in Hydronie East Bank, Essequibo, Region 3, and will involve
* Clearing
* Grading and filling
* Access Road and asphaltic concrete tarmac
* Drains and culverts
* Security fencing guard hut, sanitary facilities and administration office
* Parking facilities available

President Jagdeo indicated his intention to return and to also visit the Leneora Market.