–management committee to be resuscitated, says Minister Walrond
THE Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, on Wednesday, announced its plans to regularise the operations of the Eccles Industrial Site, in a bid to significantly improve the standard and appearance of the commercial and manufacturing hub.
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that all lease holders comply with the agreements stipulated by the ministry, so that the operations of the site are smooth.
The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce gained control of the Eccles Industrial Site in 2017 after it was handed over to the government by National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
The Official Gazette said that pursuant to the deed and subject to the representations, covenants, terms and conditions specified therein, the plots numbering 1-84 of Block `DD’ being a portion of Plantation Eccles, is transferred by the donor, NICIL, to the Government of Guyana. The order which made the transfer legal was signed by the then Minister of Finance on July 17, 2017
According to the ownership agreement, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce has control over all 54 acres of land within the estate.
The agreement between the government and the lease holders of the lands at the estate, gives authorities the duty to ensure responsible use of the lands and spaces.
Minister Walrond said that one of the issues uncovered during her visit to the site, on Wednesday, was the fact that many lease holders were utilising spaces to conduct business other than what was signed on to when they leased the land; this, she said, was without application for or approval to change business operations.
The minister further related that her team would have uncovered derelict vehicles and pieces of machinery that have been placed at the “roadsides” and have been left there for some time.
She said that the government will be writing to lease owners to address the situation.
“The idea is to ensure that the estates are used for the correct purpose. There has been a lot of neglect and we came here to do a site visit to see firsthand what it is the issue that we have to address.
“What we have encountered is the issue of encumbered roadways, heavy vehicles on the roadways, people not using the lands for the purpose for which they had committed in their lease and so all of those issues will be addressed and regularised,” Minister Walrond said.
Further, in keeping with the government’s commitment to regularise the operations at the industrial site, Minister Walrond said that systems are being put in place to resuscitate the Eccles Industrial Site Management committee, which consists of representatives of the industrial site, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.
She said that meetings will be held soon to elect persons who will sit on the committee and ensure that the regulations and terms of references of the lease agreement are followed.
Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud, further underscored the government’s commitment to improve the performance at the industrial site.
He said that the government intends to have the necessary services in place at the site to better the look and atmosphere at the estate.
Minister Persaud said the government’s plans is to engage the Guyana Fire Service to ensure that all necessary fire safety equipment are in place and accessible.
He also said that the government will be enlisting the Ministry of Labor to ensure that all Occupational Health and Safety guidelines are followed to protect not just the company’s operations, but also the lives of all Guyanese employed at the industrial site.
“Basically, my input with the business owners, is that we want to ensure that the Occupational Health and Safety guidelines are adhered to. We also will be ensuring that the fire hydrants are working and we want to uplift the aesthetic of the industrial site, so the pan is to introduce adequate lighting and so.
“But the issues we found that can be dealt with by the lease holders, we will follow up by way of letter and very soon we will engage the committee in the industrial estate and the business owners at a different level,” Minister Persaud said.