Georgetown, Guyana – (October 18, 2019): President David Granger, this afternoon, attended the opening ceremony of the New Amsterdam Town Week 2019 activities where he proposed a five-point, New Amsterdam Plan of Action (NAPA) for Urban Revival.
The five components of the plan are to ensure the town becomes a centre of educational excellence offering top-class nursery, primary, secondary and technical vocational education; becomes the Region’s commercial capital; becomes clean and ‘green’; and have transformed infrastructure and expanded public services.
The President reminded that Guyana is in transition to become a ‘green state’ noting that he Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 is the country’s roadmap towards that goal.
“The ‘green state’ will place emphasis on the protection of the environment, the preservation of its biodiversity, the promotion of renewable energy, the development of low carbon economic sectors and the adoption of practical measures to ensure climate adaptation,” the President said.
The Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) will be implemented during the Decade of Development: 2020-2029, the Head of State said adding that New Amsterdam could be a place where the GSDS is seen to be implemented more widely and purposefully during the ‘Decade’.
President Granger said New Amsterdam, Guyana’s oldest town can become a model ‘green’ town and its Plan of Action for Urban Revival can coincide, step-by-step, with national growth and the implementation of the GSDS over the next 10 years.
“New Amsterdam Town Week is a time to celebrate the town’s rich history and heritage. New Amsterdam in its early years was described as a splendid town, renowned for its beauty, its cleanliness, its orderliness and for its ornate buildings. I challenge you to reclaim the town’s proud, picturesque and cultural heritage,” the President said.
The Head of State said too that New Amsterdam Town Week is also a time to celebrate the town’s outstanding sons and daughters. He said New Amsterdam has produced some of the country’s finest businessmen, doctors, educators, lawyers, parliamentarians and other professionals.
“It has given birth to legal luminaries such as the former Chancellor of the Judiciary J.O.F. Haynes and Sir Lionel Luckhoo; Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Sir Sridath Ramphal; the outstanding composer of national songs Valerie Rodway and a literary genius, Edgar Mittelholzer,” the President said.
President Granger said notwithstanding its history, New Amsterdam Town Week 2019 must be different from previous town weeks. “This celebration must trigger greater efforts at urban revival of the town as a well-laid out, well-drained and well-managed municipality.
It can become a thriving commercial and administrative centre, providing efficient commercial, governmental, municipal and regional services. It must ensure green spaces and greater emphasis in renewable energy generation,” President Granger posited.
The President told residents of New Amsterdam that the town has the potential to become an eco-tourist destination given that it encompasses four of the country’s national geographic zones – coastland, grasssland, forested highland and hilly sand and clay zone.
“The Region is rich in wildlife including the Giant River Otter, the Manatee and the famous Canje Pheasant – Guyana’s National Bird,” he said.
Further, the Head of State said New Amsterdam’s heritage tourism product is breath-taking while positing that the town’s heritage sites can form the basis of an attractive and lucrative urban tourism sector.
“It can lead in the promotion of eco-tourism and heritage tourism. Both of these sub-sectors can make an impactful contribution to the Region’s economic revival. The economic revival of such a large and rich region will not happen by accident. It needs a ‘turbine’. It needs first-class administrative services to catalyse investments, to develop a strong human resource base, to expand the services sector and to develop an agro-industrial sector,” President Granger said noting that New Amsterdam is that ‘turbine’.
The Head of State said New Amsterdam is experiencing a renewal. “New life has been injected into the town, over the past four years. This town, like all others, was a victim of administrative inertia and financial amnesia. Your Government has halted, and begun to reverse, this neglect and to prepare the town to become an engine of urban revival.”
The President said local democracy was restored through the holding of Local Government Elections in 2016 and in 2018, allowing citizens of New Amsterdam a greater say in its affairs.
“Local democracy, combined with our policy of regionalization, has devolved greater responsibilities to local democratic organs. This town has gained from the ‘democratic dividend’ which has spurred renewal and revitalization in regions, towns and neighbourhoods. New Amsterdam is leading the process of urban revival,” President Granger said.
He said urban revival is about ensuring the modernization of the country’s ten towns and is aimed at ensuring that the towns become engines of economic growth; improve the quality of public and municipal services offered to residents and ensure the orderly development of their commercial, industrial, recreational and residential zones.
The President who has travelled to the East Berbice-Corentyne Region eleven times in five months assured that NAPA for Urban Revival aims at making the town a leader in education; modernizing its infrastructure; improving municipal services; creating a better environment and ensuring a stronger business sector.
President Granger said New Amsterdam, as the capital town of Region Six can stimulate the development of agro-industries. He said the town must aim to become an agro-industrial centre and an exporter of processed food. The President believes that the agro-industry – that is, the production, processing and packaging of food using modern equipment and methods on a large-scale – can help the Region to add value to its primary products.
“It can make this Region rich,” he stated noting that New Amsterdam has seen measurable progress over the past four years.
“I place this ‘Plan’ before the town. I see a bright and prosperous future for New Amsterdam. The Mayor and City Council and the residents can be assured of the support of my Government in the implementation of this plan,” the President assured.
Similarly, Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan said Government is committed to the process of local government restoration, rehabilitation and creating an enabling environment for local leaders to succeed in their mandate to serve their communities.
“We want to see your town council deliver efficient services to you to make your life better and you are assured of the continued support of this administration to develop and modernise this town,” Minister Bulkan said.
The Minister disclosed that on Monday a contract valued $26M was awarded for the operation of the recently upgraded and rehabilitated Esplanade dumpsite. Another contract valued at $55M was also awarded this week for the construction of an access road
to the Belle Vue landfill site even as efforts are being made to design a modern landfill site there.
Mayor of the New Amsterdam, Ms. Winifred Haywood also spoke of the progress made in the town since 2015.