Parliament Square to be rehabilitated

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Parliament Square, a once beautiful garden situated opposite of Parliament Building, at the corner of High Street and Brickdam, Georgetown, is set for a full rehabilitation by the Ministry of Housing and Water through the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).

The announcement was made by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, during his site visit and assessment of the area on Wednesday. Minister Croal was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CH&PA, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Andre Ally.

The Minister explained that Parliament Square was originally conceptualized in 2012 under the Urban Renewal Plan (URP) by President Dr Irfaan Ali, who was Minister of Housing and Water at the time.

“It was to improve the aesthetics and to have the facility of a park that is different from the other parks that we have across the country,” Minister Croal said.

However, it was placed under the purview of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown during the 2016-2020 period and has since been overrun by vagrants and dumping of garbage in and around the facility.

Late last year, Cabinet granted approval for the transferal of the area from M&CC back to CH&PA and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has since approved an absolute grant of ownership to the agency.

Given the passage of Budget 2021 Minister Croal said that CH&PA will be taking immediate physical occupation of the area, which would include the presence of security.

“We want persons to come here take pictures and find a nice cool comfortable atmosphere…and where it is too, right in central Georgetown, we’ll want to have tourists coming here and taking pictures too as part of the experience,” noted Minister Croal.

A snackette which was in the initial plan of Parliament Square, to help in the recovery of funds, will also be realized in the restoration plan.

In expressing his disappointment in what the park has become, CEO Greaves stated that a Management Committee has been set up by CH&PA for the rehabilitation of Parliament Square.

“We now intend to bring it back to its glory to what the then Minister and now President had envisioned for here. So, with that in mind you will see over the coming weeks and months, works being done here to bring it back to its former glory and even better. We will get the fountains working, get the fence working, put in new seats [and] new lights,” the CEO said.

The scope of works will also include the restoration of the washroom facility.

Following the completion of the project, persons will have to write directly to CH&PA for permission to use the area for special events, it will also be opened for use to the general public.