Pres Ali makes ‘surprise’ visit to road, housing projects
– 1500 persons employed to construct 400 houses at Cummings Lodge
– also inspects progress on Mandela-to-Eccles road construction
In what has become a characteristic of his style of presidency, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Tuesday made an unexpected visit to various road and housing constructions designed to ensure taxpayers are getting value for their money.
Accompanied by a team of technical persons from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), the President inspected ongoing housing and road projects in Georgetown and on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
His first stop was in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, where 400 elevated houses are being constructed. The project has set itself an ambitious target of constructing some 200 homes by the end of October 2021 and has attracted the interest of some 8000 Guyanese thus far.
While on site, President Ali was informed that 13 contractors, employing more than 1500 skilled and semi-skilled persons, were carrying out the project. During the visit, the President inspected the homes and interacted with some of the contractors on the ground.
The national housing development plan for 2021 includes the construction of 1000 homes for low-income earners in areas such as Cummings Lodge, Prospect, Providence, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Onderneeming, Wales, Ordinance, Fortlands, Hampshire, Williamsburg and Amelia’s Ward. Another 100 is set aside for the hinterland communities.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is mobilising to distribute a total of 10,000 house lots to Guyanese in 2021, in keeping with their manifesto promise to deliver 50,000 lots within their first term in office.
Back in November 2020, President Ali had announced that land clearing works started for new housing schemes at Mon Repos and Cummings Lodge. He had said that the Government’s housing programme will create tens of thousands of jobs in the construction and home improvement sectors. Moreover, the construction sector will be key to driving growth in Guyana’s non-oil sectors.
In April, the Government had announced that it is in the process of constructing 190 elevated two-bedroom houses in the Cummings Lodge community for the working class – a project that is slated for completion within five months.
Meanwhile, the President also made a stop on Tuesday in Providence, EBD, where a current public-private partnership is facilitating the construction of 200 flat houses. Of these houses, 80 are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Additionally, 55 two-storey homes are also being constructed.
Road projects were not spared, as the President and his technical team made their second stop of the afternoon at the road link that is currently being constructed from Mandela Avenue to Eccles on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
The Eccles to Mandela road project, which has seen six contractors work on completing the important road link under the auspices of the Housing and Water Ministry, is slated for completion and opening by this year end.
The road link is expected to be the second phase of the overall Ogle-Diamond bypass road, after the Diamond to Eccles link. The bypass project will see a total of 26 kilometres of road constructed, linking two of the country’s main thoroughfares.
This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These include Diamond, Mocha and Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown. These connections will prove crucial in diverting traffic.
On his last stop, the President visited the road project linking Eccles and Diamond. During the visit, he inspected the work being done on both ends of the road. When completed, the road linking Mandela Avenue to Diamond is expected to significantly reduce travel time from the East Bank to the capital city and vice versa.
These projects are all part of the India-funded Bypass Road Project which would link the East Bank Demerara corridor to the East Coast of Demerara, creating a new highway in the backlands. The Indian Government had provided a US$50 million Line of Credit (LOC) for the road link that was initially slated for Ogle, ECD, to Diamond. Under the previous Government, the project was at a standstill for several years.
The Ali-led Administration has since redesigned the project into three phases to fit the LOC. It will now run from Ogle to Haags Bosch at Eccles in the first phase, then from Eccles to Diamond, and finally from Diamond to Timehri to connect to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).