–President Ali declares at opening of Sarwan’s Amazonia Mall
WHAT started off as a mere idea 10 years ago became a dream realised for renowned former West Indian cricketer, Ramnaresh Sarwan, who, on Friday was accompanied by President Dr. Irfaan Ali to cut the ceremonial ribbon, declaring open the spanking new Amazonia Mall.
The multimillion-dollar investment, erected at Providence, now adds to the adornment of the East Bank Demerara corridor, which is poised for massive development.
“Today, between Eccles and Diamond, in new housing opportunities, we have close to 18,000 house lots, minus commercial zones. This does not happen by accident; this happens by careful planning, understanding the development trajectory of the country, and opening up the opportunities to get the development going,” the Head of State said during his keynote address at the mall’s opening ceremony.
Dr. Ali recalled the many criticisms that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government was subjected to when efforts began to develop the primary thoroughfare which leads all the way to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
“I remember when we launched the vision for the East Bank, first under President [Bharrat] Jagdeo by earmarking Providence to be the location for the national stadium, we were criticised; but that is history,” President Ali said, adding:
“Remember, when we turned the sod for the 1,000 homes? Not only did I receive charges from the then Opposition in Parliament, but they said that we were sending the poor people behind God’s back! But that is history. The banks are here! Let them tell you the value of those lands now!”
Further, President Ali said that Guyana will soon benefit from the establishment of three internationally-branded hotels, as well as a number of other local investments. “We don’t scream about it every day in the newspapers,” President Ali noted.
He said that his government has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that opportunities for investment and growth are created for all Guyanese. “There’s a lot to be done,” the President posited.
He said pointedly that since the PPP/C assumed government on August 2, 2020, efforts began to ensure that a solid foundation is laid for Guyana’s development to take off.
He noted, too, that aside from the massive developments that have already taken place, and those that are coming on stream, the PPP/C has a bank of other transformative projects that it will be executing to bring development and modernisation to the entire country. “So, when I say Silica City is next, know we’re coming hard!” the President affirmed.
He related that a major area of the government’s focus has to do with alleviating traffic congestion, since no modern society can be built on persons being stuck in traffic for hours. Dr. Ali believes that that is wasted manpower which could have been otherwise invested in something productive.
Nonetheless, President Ali maintained that Guyana’s development is for all Guyanese, and that it stems from a vision that centres on equal access to opportunities. “It is a Guyanese vision,” the Head of State insisted.
As Guyana remains on the cusp of massive transformational development, largely owing to its burgeoning oil-and-gas industry, President Ali assured those at the function of his government’s commitment to doing all that needs to be done to secure a bright future for all Guyanese.
“The new Guyana we want to create requires bold thinking and fearless decision-making,” President Ali conceded, as “managing a country is not guess work,” which is something that the PPP/C has proven time and again by confronting the challenge head-on.
Dr. Ali gave his assurance that in all that it plans to do, the government will remain open to constructive criticism, as well as ideas and plans that can take Guyana forward.
The President said that he was quite pleased to see that Sarwan, a former member and captain of the West Indies Cricket team, has finally been able to see the manifestation of his idea for the Amazonia Mall, which is slated to employ at least 300 persons.
Despite seeing his success on Friday, Sarwan related that his efforts were not without hiccups. “Like every other project, we had our challenges that brought a lot of sleepless nights, but, in the end, we were able to produce a modern facility. And I would also love for all of the businesses that are on board to assist in maintaining the high level that we are all setting ourselves,” the veteran cricketer said.
The batsman-turned-businessman had previously related that the Amazonia Mall would be the second phase of his investment, with the first phase being the construction of the building which currently houses Massy Stores, and a new and improved New Thriving Restaurant, as well as the reputable Fitness 53 Gym. That aspect of the project was launched four years ago.
As it is, this second phase of the project boasts an approximate 25 stores, among them an expansive food court, which includes several reputable fast-food restaurants such as KFC and Pizza Hut, the RS 53 Resto-bar and Lounge, as well as “The Flame”, a creole restaurant owned by Sarwan’s brother, Ravi.
The facility has also been outfitted with six Caribbean Cinemas theatres with a seating capacity of almost 1,000. And now that cinemas have been given the requisite approvals, vaccinated persons can soon return to watching movies on the big- screen.
In watching his vision materialise, Sarwan said that he will be forever grateful to those who have supported his venture, and provided the requisite guidance for execution. “It is something that I will cherish, and I will continue to hold close to my heart,” Sarwan said, as he made specific reference to Republic Bank for backing the initiative.