Central Govt seeks to pump $16.6M towards City Hall’s restoration project
With City Hall’s restoration project well underway, the Central Government is seeking approval for $16.6 million for the mobilisation advance to conduct the restoration works.
This request is part of the $21.4 billion supplementary funds advance being sought by Senior Minister in the office of the President with responsibility for finance, Dr Ashni Singh, to cover current and capital expenditures.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had established an inter-ministerial committee comprising the Ministries of Local Government and Regional Development, and Public Works and Agriculture, to work together to rebuild the city, including the restoration of the historic building.
The initiative aims to preserve and maintain City Hall and its adjacent buildings known to be among the city’s main tourist attractions. President Ali had stated, “the city and the national heritage of the city is a reflection of ourselves” and as such, hopes to accelerate this project through a collaborative effort.
Back in 2018, the European Union (EU) provided $60 million (€300,000) to conduct a feasibility study for the long-awaited restoration project.
Some $100 million was allocated in the 2021 National Budget for the restoration works. A cheque valued $30 million was also handed over to the Council to advance the construction of its administrative building.
This year, a $780 million contract was signed and awarded to Fidis Guyana Incorporated to be completed by March 2023. Local materials including wood will be used for the project via a joint venture among the Local Government Ministry, the European Union and the Mayor and City Council.
Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall had said during the signing ceremony, that the project is a part of a greater development plan envisioned for the country.
“The restoration of City Hall should not be seen as something by itself, but is part of the greater whole, in terms of how we are pursuing development in the country… It is quite an extensive and expansive exercise that His Excellency is pursuing, and we hope that it will rebound to the benefit of the citizens of Georgetown,” he had noted.
This nineteenth-century gothic revival building was designed by architect, Reverend Ignatius Scoles in 1887, and was completed two years later.