Last update on Thursday 24 November 2016, 19:22 by Denis Chabrol
President David Granger said on Thursday that Homestretch Development Incorporated (HDI) was created solely to facilitate the completion of the Urban Park development project in time for Guyana’s 50th birthday.eCelebration of the anniversary of independence in the absence of budget allocations, following the elections of May 2015.
The head of state, in a statement released by his ministry, admitted that while this may have been an unusual course of action, it was timely at the time and that the Guyanese now have a valuable asset, who is a source of national pride and added that the Company is no secret and has been notified to the National Assembly.
The President reiterated that there was nothing secret or criminal about the Urban Park development plan when asked to respond to the opposition’s claim that the government had failed. not provided any information regarding the urban park development project, the creation and registration of HDI, which raised funds for the project, or the Minister of Education, the role of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine as director on the board of directors of the company, upon registration of The Public Interest.
“When we took office, budgetary arrangements were not made for the construction of this stadium in time for the independence celebrations in May 2016 and it was considered prudent to set up a special purpose company… when we realized that we had to make contracts and agreements with construction companies to build the stands and everything that was involved in the stadium and as soon as we could we ended the work of this company and [transferred the project to] the Department of Public Infrastructure with sole responsibility for competing with the project, ”President Granger said.
He added that when his administration came to power in May 2015, some ad hoc measures had been put in place for the rehabilitation of the Independence Monument, which had been neglected for several decades, and to host the inauguration parade at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, East Bank Demerara. However, as no budget allocation had been made for the construction of a stadium, it soon became apparent that there was a need to set up a short-term company to complete the project on time.
“It was decided that a special purpose company called Homestretch Development Incorporated would be used to continue the preparations, which had started, until the government passed the budget and put in place other infrastructure institutions and when this ended, the responsibility of HDI, that is to say in particular with regard to Urban Park, was transferred to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure so there is nothing secret, or there is no there is nothing criminal about HDI ”, declared the head of state.
The President indicated that the company has only been in existence for six months and that he regards it as a transition company which has enabled the administration to carry out the Project. He said he is grateful for the business and the contributions made by the citizens, which have helped the government reach its deadline and the Guyanese are now the proud owners of a valuable asset. “I think a lot of Guyanese are proud of the asset we have now. It belongs to the Guyanese people, ”he said.
“We couldn’t have done it before due to uncertainty about the budget and how quickly we needed to complete the project by this year. It was only a year ago, but we now have in Guyana, the largest stadium… and it is a public good, which will be there forever. We therefore have a very important institution which is open to all Guyanese. You can have your Diwali, you can have Christian crusades, you can have Hindu and Muslim services, but we have a valuable asset that we didn’t have before, ”he said.
Regarding the role of Dr Roopnaraine as a member of the Board, the President noted that it was only a question of representing the interest of the Government “because the celebrations that we were aiming for when the Society was created , largely concerned the 50e birthday celebrations.
Similar questions were put to Minister of State Joseph Harmon this morning during his post-Cabinet press briefing. The Minister noted that although several of these questions had already been asked and answered by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson during a debate in the National Assembly during its last sitting on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. , it is important to note that the D “The urban park project has its origins in the efforts of private citizens, who made the decision to support the efforts to convert an area which was essentially ‘a jungle’ into a public space. .
Minister Harmon said the company was established long after work began by citizens concerned about the public good and it became necessary to create it to find funding after their efforts were exhausted. Giving a brief history of the events that led to the founding of the company, he noted that after 50 years of independence, the government was still struggling to find housing for 50,000 people. The extraordinary turnout of people at President Granger’s inauguration ceremony at Guyana’s National Stadium in Providence, which hosts around 17,000 people and left several hundred more to gather along the roads, highlighted this.
As such, he said, when the government made the decision to transform the D’urban park into a public space, it welcomed the spirit of public nationalism that arose upon coming to power. of President Granger, who saw people contribute to national life.
“The moment when the company was created did not coincide with the start of the works because they were private citizens who presented themselves and gave of their time and resources… It was really private citizens who presented themselves to clean a public place. for a public good. I want to make this distinction between what happened in D’urban Park and what happened under the previous administration. The previous administration, they used public goods for the benefit of a few private. I have to make this very clear… that they were private citizens contributing to a public good rather than taking a public good and converting it into a… private benefit, ”he said.
On April 19, 2016, President Granger mandated the Minister of Public Infrastructure to take full responsibility for the Urban Park development project as its completion date approached.
Minister Patterson also expressed confidence that his team could meet the deadline and fulfilled the president’s vision of making the park a beautiful and safe public space. The Corps of Engineers of the Guyanese Defense Forces has also been tasked with assisting the Minister’s team in this endeavor.
The minister kept his pledge that the venue would be completed in time for Guyana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and thousands of Guyanese turned out in large numbers, filling all the stands and spilling out to the edges of the national celebration. Minister Patterson, who also indicated in July 2016 that his department was working to ensure that all overdue payments to contractors involved in the project were resolved, in a guest commentary this evening, said the Cabinet, during of its last meeting favorably considered a proposal for such payments to be concluded.
Amidst heated debates in the National Assembly, Minister Patterson has repeatedly made disclosures about the company, former project managers, contractors and payments and made it clear that “there is nothing to hide in the books of the ministry “with regard to the enterprise and the execution of the project.
Since its completion, Urban Park has hosted a number of national, cultural and religious events and is often used as a place for recreation, sport and exercise by residents of South Georgetown and others, who visit the region.