Business community launches city enhancement project

Stabroek News
January 14, 2007

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One of the garbage bins that will be placed in the down-town area

The business community is spending millions of dollars to beautify downtown Georgetown in time for Cricket World Cup (CWC) and littering will be the biggest focus.

As a result 200 high quality bins costing some $10 million are expected to be placed throughout the downtown area to deal with large amounts of garbage that are left behind on a daily basis.

In March, thousands of visitors will arrive here for Guyana's leg of the biggest cricketing event in the world.

Businesspersons have come together to form the Georgetown Enhancement Committee (GEC) with the aim of beautifying the downtown area so that the tourists will have a good lasting impression of our city.

This massive project which targets the area bordered by Church Road, Avenue of the Republic, Hadfield Street and the Demerara River will not only see the installation of bins but also arrangement for garbage collection, tree planting, flower planting, landscaping, bridge repairs and the installation of streets lights.

A press briefing was held yesterday to highlight the plans of the committee. Among those in attendance were Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green, Director of the Solid Waste Management Unit of the Mayor and City Council Rufus Lewis and GEC members Chris Fernandes, Vic Insanally and Hans H Neher. Representatives from the New Building Society (NBS) and Republic Bank were also present.

Letters have been sent out to the business population for support in the venture and so far NBS has undertaken the responsibility of repairing the four bridges on the Avenue of the Republic and installing lights on that same street at a cost of $2.7M. Neher has undertaken to do the landscaping in the downtown area.

Before the briefing got underway the media was shown a short of video, which highlighted the work done so far and what will happen in the weeks ahead.

Insanally said tree and flower planting and landscaping were already underway in front of Muneshwer's Ltd on Water Street. He said a stage would be built in the park behind the National Museum, where live performances would be held.

According to Insanally, the New Vendors Mall on Water Street will also undergo a facelift and an artist's impression has already been done to show how that area will be enhanced.

And as a result of the insistence of Mayor Green, some of the historical features of the Avenue of the Republic's bridges would be kept.

Fernandes, managing director of John Fernandes Shipping Ltd said he hoped more members of the business community would get on board to help make the project a reality.

He said that the committee has undertaken to do its best to enhance the area referred it. Fernandes stated that the stage will be used for cultural events on "off days" (days when there are no cricket matches) during the CWC. In addition benches will be built and flowers planted to beautify that area.

According to the businessman, garbage bins in the city represent a challenge and he applauded the efforts of some agencies to place bins along Main Street.

He said while those bins are serving a purpose they are being improved. The more improved bins, he said, will not be open.

"We can't stop people from scavenging in bins. With the new model we can ensure that the bins will not be open and measures will be put in place to stop people throwing things around the bins."

According the Fernandes, the aim is to place four bins on each block and he commended the M&CC for advising where they should be placed. He said that the installation of the bins will begin next week and arrangements will be put in place to have them emptied everyday.

He told members of the media that a flower planting exercise is also underway in front of the Georgetown Magistrate's Court.

"We have undertaken certain responsibilities and we will make sure that they are completed," he said.

Fernandes said the committee hoped to have the project completed by February month end.

He also expressed the hope that the initiative will not only be for the World Cup but would turn out to be a long-term benefit for Guyana.

Green said last year at the Sports Hall he had appealed to businesses and citizens to come on board to rehabilitate the city and Fernandes was the first to do so. Green said some businesspersons have agreed to do things to enhance their surroundings.

The Ministry of Health, he said, will come on board to deal with persons of unsound mind.

In the hope that this enhancement project will produce the best garden city in the Caribbean, Lewis urged all citizens to do community clean ups as their contribution to enhancing the look of the city. He said if any community group needed supplies, trucks and other equipment could be provided.

"Help us to turn our city around," he said.