August start date for city clean-up – Whittaker

The $500 million city clean-up project will commence early August and the involvement of communities is being sought, acting Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker said last Friday.

At a news conference, Whittaker announced that 16 bids were received for the de-silting of the major canals, including those at Lamaha, Sussex, Irving, Church, Young and Princes streets.

He noted that the bids received are being assessed and that an award will be given within two weeks.

He also said 11 bids were received for both, the de-silting of drains and rehabilitation of internal roads within the Le Repentir Cemetery.

The minister noted that prisoners will assist during the clean-up, by de-bushing the cemetery. He further mentioned that the ministry has had discussions with the chairman of the beekeepers association about the honeybee hives located in the cemetery. “The view was expressed that this can pose a danger, not only to the workers,” he explained, “but to persons traversing the area.”

He said the association has determined that the body will prepare and submit a proposal to guide the ministry on how the hives will be dealt with. He added that the bids for work on the cemetery are also under evaluation and will be awarded “shortly” in order for works to begin during the early parts of August.

Meanwhile, Whittaker stated that the ministry wants to work with community groups, community-based organisations and faith-based organizations, with respect to the community aspect of the clean-up project. “We want this to be an activity that has the support and involvement of the very beneficiaries,” he said, explaining that residents will be remunerated for the labour that they provide.

Whittaker noted that so far the ministry has had consultations in Camp- bellville, Albouystown, Kitty, Agricola and Cummings Lodge and further consultations will be held in the East and West Ruimveldt areas. He said the planning and implementation committee for the Guyana Clean-up Project met last Wednesday and came up with another schedule of consultations that will see the ministry covering many more communities. “In fact every zone in Georgetown will be covered,” he said, “because we want to ensure that every community is given an opportunity to come on board with this project from day one… And not to limit their benefit only to the improved aesthetic of the environment, but where they can earn some money.”

The city council, which, he said, has to play an integral role in the sustainability, has been asked by the ministry to provide information with respect to the status of its machines. He said based on need, priority, and available funding, the ministry will determine what will be fixed. According to Whittaker, the ministry will be fixing compactors and machines used for de-silting drains, among other equipment, so as to put them in a better position to deliver the kind of service expected in terms of maintaining the infrastructure. He said it is the ministry’s expectation that city council will assist in terms of sustaining the project.

Furthermore, Whittaker said the ministry is engaging the private sector in order to get it to take responsibility, such as by adopting specific streets or zones.

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