Georgetown faces outrageous challenges compared to other cities – UK consultant

Lead Consultant of Vivid Economics, Charlie Dixon

Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana, is plagued by many issues including crime and even natural disasters such as flooding and the lead consultant from the European firm Vivid Economics, Charlie Dixon, said the challenges are some of the greatest he has seen in recent times.
In a recent interview with this publication, Dixon said that he thinks that “the challenges that Georgetown faces are some of the largest that I’ve seen in the types of cities and the types of areas that we’ve worked in”.
Dixon, who has been in Guyana for quite some time putting together a report on Climate Resilience Support for Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility for the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) explained that in addition to the aforementioned issues, the capital city is likely to undergo tremendous pressure in the near future, as the population is likely to expand.
He said that statistics collected by himself found that by 2040, Georgetown’s population is likely to grow from 130,000 to 200,000.
The spike in the population, he said, could be linked to the fact that the oil and gas sector is preparing to take off soon, which will see larger amounts of persons, both locals and others, seeking employment in the city or offshore.
“In Georgetown, I think it’s a really interesting opportunity because there is gonna be such phenomenal urban growth in Georgetown in the future and so this isn’t just because Guyana is already developing at a fast pace, but the increase of oil is gonna put real dramatic pressures on the population and so that’s including impact in population growth, its including inward migrants who come to work in the oil and gas industry or diaspora that is attracted to move back and then finally there is gonna be an increase in urbanisation, so people moving from the interior to Georgetown as well,” Dixon explained.
Based on the report, the consultant noted that a number of key measures have been recommended which can be implemented by various responsible agencies, including the Office of Climate Change and even the Public Infrastructure Ministry, to ensure the preservation of the city.
He said, “There are a set of key actions that have been looked into, sized and modelled so you can tell not only how many emissions they will help you to reduce but also how much they’re likely to cost, both in terms of upfront investments and savings over throughout time”.
While presenting the findings from his study, the consultant recommended on Tuesday that current sea defence structures should be rehabilitated while the drainage system in and around the city needs to be addressed. He also told the Central Housing and Planning Authority that they may need to direct commercial and residential development away from high-risk areas in Georgetown while the onus may be upon the Government to restore and expand mangrove conservation and sediment control structures.
The almost six-month long study was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).