The Castellani swimming pool with local tiles cost $1,000,000

Dear Editor,

We are now hearing what some of us a long time ago suspected – this administration is all about the money.

The East Coast government swimming pool cost has moved from $500 million plus to $600 million plus. I hope the state media in the interest of the truth will remind citizens, and in particular, our youths that the previous administration demonstrated prudence.

When the Castellani swimming pool on Homestretch Avenue was conceived, some experts proposed we purchase the tiles and other materials from overseas, but then President Burnham wedded to ‘local,’ insisted that the tiles be made locally As a consequence, kilns were constructed on site under the guidance of Ms Leila Locke, the English wife of Guyanese renowned artist, Donald Locke, and work began. On April 4, 1975 the task of producing thousands of 2’x 2’ tiles made from our clay taken from parts of the city and some other areas began.

The pool then was of Olympic standard and size. Today, those tiles have stood the test of time – almost four decades – and are still going strong. This government that talks about being local should at least follow a good example.

Let the Ministry of Sport state publicly if it is not true that the tiles just installed at such an exorbitant cost will last no more than 12 years. Is this true or false? The media should demand answers and specifications.

The Castellani project including a sauna and exercise bay cost the Treasury one million Guyana dollars. As his contribution to a national effort, the late George Henry (architect) supervised the project for free. That was the sort of national pride generated in those days. Where are such today?

We must demand a detailed report on this apparent waste of our money. We must demand an answer: why was the example set by the previous administration not followed? After all, the evidence is there for all to see. $1 million v $600 million – a massive difference. The Parliament must ask: why three contractors? Why was the example of producing tiles locally not followed?

Less talk, less propaganda, less greed – more for Guyana.

One little postscript: All this money we hear being spent by the Ministry of Sport, yet as I left a group of US and Guyanese youths in Bent Street doing a fantastic job cleaning and clearing gutters, further up, groups of youths complain that they lack an adequate prepared open space where they can play.

What a pity that they are forced to use the streets and break a few windows and damage some plants.

Yours faithfully,

Hamilton Green JP


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