Plaisance children desperately need the community playground

Dear Editor,

Community playgrounds are open spaces for recreation and cultural development and this precedent of erecting towers should not be set by Government to diminish the playgrounds.

KN reported on Saturday, April 6, 2013 that the Government has vowed to continue with its plan for building a transmission tower on the playground. This is both bewildering and distressing to me. I was a resident of Ogle for more than 30 years and I have vivid fond memories of my childhood days, of the countless hours of play every day in those big open spaces that we called ‘pasture’. Play involved every game that we could imagine and create including kite flying, racing, catching insects and ‘cocabelly’ from the surrounding ditches, picking seeds, bird calling and just good old fashioned play.

Research confirms that play is one of the most pivotal, fundamental and life shaping requirements for children to develop critical thinking, negotiation, cognitive abilities, boundaries, assessment of personalities, motor skills, communication, judgement, and creativity. Gradually, these pasture lands no longer existed because houses were built up, and by then I was no longer a child needing those open spaces.

The children of Plaisance do not have enough green or open spaces in their own yards and desperately need the Community Playground for their development into civic-minded adulthood. These areas provide a place for cultural and sporting events and for playing – and with all the additional benefits that come from team sports, sharing, and building healthy bodies, minds and communities.

We welcome the efficient and ever expanding telecommunication and e-commerce development within our communities but see no justification for that to be at the expense of diminishing our playgrounds. The Government of Guyana should cherish the well-being of all the children of Guyana including the children of Plaisance. I hope therefore that the State can work with the local authorities to identify a more appropriate spot for the erection of the tower. It is logical to think that if we set the precedent of building on community lands today then we open the doors for eventual varying commercial arrangements by any and every business interest tomorrow. This precedent is not in the interest of the Government or the people and these Companies should purchase their own lands for commercial purposes.

It was stated in the KN article on Sunday, April 7, 2013 that 55 transmission towers will be constructed and the following questions arise for the public:

(i)    Can the public be provided with a list of the proposed locations where the other 54 transmission towers will be built? Are there other community playgrounds slated for the building of such towers.

(ii)   Why is the Government setting a precedent of demarcating other land uses for lands set aside for recreational purposes for the Community?

(iii) What are the arrangements between the Government and the Company and with the Community Management Committees for the uses of community playgrounds?

(iv)    Are there other proposed business arrangements with other Companies for community playgrounds in Guyana?

(v)    As in other countries, why can’t the Companies purchase their own lands for commercial purposes? Did the Government have an agreement to provide lands for such development?

 Yours faithfully,
 Sharon Ousman

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