$35M earmarked for markets, except in city

Though over $35 million is being spent on the improvement of a number of markets throughout Guyana, Georgetown markets were noticeably missing when Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker gave an update on the ministry’s “financial situation.”

At a press briefing yesterday, Whittaker outlined areas where funds will soon be spent on the development of markets: Corriverton, Rose Hall, Rosignol, Diamond, and other areas. Improvements of infrastructure, he said, will include the construction of reservoirs, sanitary facilities and tarmacs.

“Our efforts to improve solid waste management is not merely limited to the solid waste of itself but also getting vendors who are significant contributors of waste in public spaces to use the facilities provided,” Whittaker said.

Whittaker explained the reason behind excluding the Georgetown markets. “This project focuses on the other municipal markets,” he said. “As you would be aware, we are spending significant sums in Georgetown and the whole idea is that it frees up a lot of the council’s resources to use. If the intervention in Georgetown frees up $500 million of resources that the council should’ve used, [then] the expectation is that the council would use some of those resources to address other issues.”

He went on to say, “It could not be that the rates and taxes that people pay are put in some bank account or laid dormant. So all of this work that is taking place under the clean-up project frees up resources that the council has to look at other areas of municipal service. So we will expect the council to focus on the markets. Vendors pay to use those facilities.

“We try to assist the others – Linden…Anna Regina, New Amsterdam – they all need assistance.”

The markets’ improvements come under the Indian-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) project. The project seeks to address the issue of solid waste management in Guyana by the implementation of three strategies, Whittaker said. These strategies are the procurement of appropriate waste management machinery and equipment for the collection, transportation, and disposal of waste to landfills, the expansion and rehabilitation of markets and their tarmacs, and raising public awareness.

Whittaker believes the expansion and rehabilitation component will curb and control illegal vending, which he deemed “a serious contributor to solid waste”.

Whittaker said he had met “illegal vendors” about a month ago and it was decided that, upon completion of repairs, “all of those on the roadside must go into the markets.”

The project, he says, assigns a significant amount of its funds for the improvement of market infrastructure along with the placement of market tarmacs. The funds will also be used for the purchase of mini excavators, garbage bins and other items.

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