THE multimillion-dollar four-storey building being constructed to house the administrative department of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year, according to Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall.
Appearing on a programme aired by the National Communications Network (NCN), Dharamlall said that works on the project are moving apace, with a large sum of money already expended on the project. It was only recently that the Dr. Irfaan Ali-led Government presented the M&CC with a $30 million subvention to aid in the completion of the building, which is being erected in the compound of City Hall. Given the deteriorating condition of City Hall, orders were given for the staff to be relocated.
The new building is intended to improve accessibility for customers and provide a better working environment for employees. “This is part of government’s commitment to support the construction of the ‘admin’ building. The President himself, with the Ministers of Local Government and Regional Development, as well as the Mayor and the Minister of Finance, agreed that $30 million would go towards the construction of the ‘admin’ building,” Minister Dharamlall said previously.
In 2019, $75 million was given to the M&CC for the first phase of construction of the building, which will face the south-eastern corner of City Hall’s compound. Once completed, the spanking new building will boast an elevator and a room for the holding of statutory meetings, in addition to all of the other vital administrative departments.
In his NCN interview, Dharamlall said that efforts were also moving apace to rehabilitate the iconic City Hall building. A subvention of $100 million had already been allocated for restoration of the landmark.
Referencing the City Hall repairs, Dharamlall said government will not be handing City Hall the monies earmarked for the project, or any capital works for the City.
“We are not going to give City Hall money directly. Because they have not been very forthcoming with how they spend taxpayers’ monies. So, we are going to be doing a lot of the funding. While we agree on what projects will be done, the Government will be spending the resources directly with the concurrence of City Hall on the projects,” Dharamlall related.
He added: “The President met with City Hall, myself and other Ministers of Government met with them. And the greater plan for our country, Georgetown, is included in that plan,” Dharamlall said. He also reminded of President Ali’s position to not only build and rebuild the physical infrastructure of Georgetown, but do so in a manner that maintains the country’s architectural heritage. “We have met so many times with City Hall, outlined our plans for infrastructural development. We will do the heavy lifting,” the Local Government and Regional Development Minister asserted.
Dharamlall has often said that while the M&CC is responsible for maintaining the City, the government will not allow the residents to suffer as a result of the municipality’s neglect.
“Despite this being the responsibility of the City of Georgetown, the Ministry of Public Works has been heavily involved in road construction and, likewise, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development in terms of other issues of the City,” Dharamlall said.
He added, too, that the Ministry of Agriculture, through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, had also been involved in ensuring adequate drainage measures were installed in the City.
“They [the Ministry of Agriculture] have been involved in practically all of the drainage infrastructure maintenance and even upgrades. Even the situation where we had the floods recently, the pumps were actually being supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture,” Dharamlall posited.