Task force to spearhead
Operation city clean-up
Guyana Chronicle
November 10, 2006

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'...we have to clean up and this is not just a short-term thing for World Cup cricket...' ---President Bharrat Jagdeo

THE government has assembled a special task force under the direction of Cabinet to head and oversee a massive multi-million-dollar clean-up and beautification of Georgetown and its environs, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon announced yesterday.

His announcement followed word from President Bharrat Jagdeo Wednesday that he had given clear instructions for a major and long-term clean-up of the city and surrounding areas.

“I am giving notice; I don’t want to sound acrimonious or to sound harsh, but we have to clean up and this is not just a short-term thing for World Cup cricket - it is going to last beyond that and I have already given clear instructions,” he warned.

Speaking with reporters immediately after the formal and grand dedication ceremony for the cricket stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara, where some of the matches for Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 will be played next year, President Jagdeo noted that the beautification campaign has been stepped-up.

“We all want to see a clean place and a beautiful environment,” the President said, pointing out that this will be the first impression on the minds of tourists and others when they visit Guyana.

He assured that even “the little issues”, such as animals on the roadways, will be aggressively tackled because “these little things matter”.

The President also lamented that there are businessmen who own plots of land in downtown Georgetown that have become virtual eyesores for passersby and residents.

Alluding to one such plot of land on Robb Street which looks like a dump site, Mr. Jagdeo said “all it would take this man (the owner) is $10,000 to clean up a piece of land that he is requesting $200M for, that he wouldn’t keep clean.”

According to him, persons are not taking proper care of their properties and there needs to be an urgent paradigm shift in attitudes so that there is pride in living in a clean and beautiful environment.

With the evidence of neglect and in anticipation of upcoming major tourist events to be hosted by Guyana, especially the CWC 2007 tournament, Luncheon yesterday said the administration has assembled a task force under Cabinet’s direction to head the Georgetown clean-up and beautification effort.

According to him, heightened attention is being provided by the Ministry of Public Works, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

At a post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the President, Luncheon said the focus of the campaign remains on garbage collection and disposal, rehabilitating road shoulders and verges, and drains and canals in Georgetown and its environs.

Cabinet, he said, has further authorized public tendering for works to rehabilitate the five avenues in Georgetown other than Camp Street, the intention being to raise their surface above flood levels.

The government is also examining the impact of its campaign to prevent abuse of the road reserves and removing derelict vehicles from the streets, Luncheon told reporters.

“The government is urging Guyanese to be more conscious about cleaning up and beautifying against the abusers of the environment,” he said.

In June this year, the government released $78M to the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to commence the first phase of an ambitious $200M infrastructural project which entails refurbishing roads and drains and beautifying the capital city in a committed effort to improve its overall aesthetics.

The project is part of a wider and more elaborate multi-million-dollar plan that involves a collaborative approach by the government and the M&CC to give a facelift to the city.

In a separate but related beautification drive, the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) announced that it will today launch its ‘Paint Up Guyana’ campaign which will be held in association with all the major manufacturers and distributors of paint in Guyana.

THAG yesterday indicated that the ‘Paint Up Guyana’ campaign is an innovative programme which will allow all Guyanese – commercial/private sector businesses, residents, civic organisations and non governmental organisations - to purchase paint at discount prices from November 13, 2006 until February 2007.

THAG said it has recognsed that the hosting of games for the CWC 2007 tournament can impact positively on the future of Guyana as a recognized international tourism destination.

“Committed to facilitating the successful hosting of CWC 2007, this initiative, it is hoped, will encourage Guyanese to ‘Paint-Up Guyana’ and will complement other initiatives currently under way to clean up for the games and for the overall well-being of the country,” THAG said. (MARK RAMOTAR)