File photo: Seawall in Guyana. Not yet a thing of beauty?

GEORGETOWN, Guyana–October 29th, 2020–First Lady of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Arya Ali on Wednesday visited the Kingston seawall following a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss how the seafront area might be made more tourist-friendly.

The visit was conducted immediately after the meeting to figure out which parts of the seawall need immediate repair work.

The meeting at the Ministry of Tourism’s South Road office, was also attended by: Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond; Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill; Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud; and other stakeholders including the Guyana Water Incorporated local non-governmental organization Seawalls and Beyond, and the private sector.

The development of the seawall, stretching from Kingston to Vlissengen Road, forms part of the First Lady’s National Beautification Project.

After providing an overview of the project, the First Lady identified several issues that require urgent intervention. These include: vagrancy, improved lighting, improved solid waste collection, increased security, washroom and solid waste disposal facilities, a freshwater source, and regularization of vending.

Once these issues are addressed, phase two of the project will involve landscaping of the area, restorative works to the Police Bandstand, and repainting of the seawall itself.

“The idea of the project is to develop the area in such a way that it safeguards the scenic qualities of Guyana, promote sustainability, and build the country’s tourism capacity,” the First Lady said.

Minister Edghill expressed how pleased he was to learn of the First Lady’s ambitious plan to embark on a project of this magnitude.

With the Public Works Ministry having responsibility for the management of the seawall, the Minister outlined several ongoing efforts to improve the condition of the area.

Additionally, Minister Edghill committed financial resources to the project, and immediately instructed his team from the Ministry to begin installing lights and cleaning the area.

Minister, Dr. Persaud addressed the issue of vagrancy, highlighting that the issue is much more complex than it seems.

She noted that while many of the vagrants suffer from mental health problems, others are drug and substance abusers and so any attempt any institutionalizing them would require consent and a collaborative approach by her Ministry and the Ministry of Health.

The Minster added too, that the Human Services Ministry has already taken steps to reduce the number of vagrants on the streets, and will increase its efforts in the coming months.

Regarding solid waste management, a commitment was made by the private sector to supply more bins around the area, while Director of Solid Waste at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, Mr. Walter Narine promised to make sure that waste is picked up and removed every day.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Walrond expressed her support for the project and committed to offering technical and other support to realize its objectives.

She was keen to note that the Tourism Ministry really wants to get more tourists to Guyana as the country prepares for an economic transformation, that should lead to an influx of overseas visitors. As such, she said the Tourism Ministry will offer its resources to support any idea which supports the Government’s development agenda.

The Sea Wall is a 280-mile seawall that runs along much of Guyana‘s coastline, and all of the coastline in the capital city of Georgetown). It protects settlements in the coastal areas of Guyana, most of which are below sea level at high tide.

Seawalls were found necessary because of constant erosion of land by the sea. Historians note that two estates, Kierfield and Sandy Point, Guyana, known to be existing in 1792 north of the present Georgetown Seawall, were completely washed away by 1804.