Georgetown, Guyana – (June 30, 2019) Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon, on Friday evening, declared open the annual Linden Riverfront Festival, where he said that proper stewardship of Guyana’s natural resources, including its rivers and waterways will pave the way for the country’s development.
The Festival is geared at promoting the importance and identifying ways in which the rivers and waterways can be celebrated and used for economic development while funding a development plan, which is aimed at building a tourism product.
Director General Harmon noted that this project can be considered as part of the development that the Government envisages for a ‘green’ Guyana. However, he noted that behaviour changes must take place, if Guyana is to make progress in the protection of its waterways and other natural resources.
“It is part of our Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 and this is the strategy that will see Guyana into a ‘green’ state within the next 20 years. We are going to see Guyana transformed into a ‘green’ state and ‘green’ economy. What that means is that our behaviour and our attitudes to our environment has to change in keeping with this and so our attitude to rivers, creeks, trees, the environment, the air that we breathe has to undergo significant changes. It is in this context that I appreciate what is taking place here. As a Government, we are going to put systems in place to ensure that this country is developed. This Festival is important to us,” he said.
The Director General noted that already, the Government has begun putting legislation and regulations in place, which will deal with care for the environment and penalties for its destruction. He noted too that Government is supporting waterfront projects in other parts of the country and will continue to do so in keeping with its mandate of making Guyana a world- class eco-tourism destination.
“I am happy to know that the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a Lindener so I am sure he will pay significant attention to the waterways in this country. We are not going to tolerate pollution of any of our waterways in this country. The way we treat our waterways will become a significant feature of our development.
We have been voted as the number one Eco-Tourism destination in the world and it means that as a people, we must take the benefits that accrue from that status. Tourists must come and enjoy that status that we have, the things that we have to offer, to enjoy this waterfront…We have supported the development of waterfronts in Bartica and Supenaam. We have fantastic developments on the waterfronts and we must be proud of it. The way we have taken stewardship of our environment, the world is taking notice,” he said.
Mr. Harmon also commended the organisers for the event as he noted that it goes to show that they have an active interest in developing their community, the town and by extension, the country.
Meanwhile, Founder of the initiative, Mr. Sam Wright explained that the initiative seeks to create a Linden River Front Development Plan, which will look at a working river front, which supports the continued use of the river for shipping, transportation, recreation and other inter- related activities; improved port facilities and development of supporting amenities; environmental stewardship and green designed facilities; historical presentation of monuments and economic access and opportunities for businesses and other economic activities.
He noted that as a land of many waters, it is important that Guyanese start to take notice of their riverways and its importance to development and this is one such way of ensuring that takes place.
“We have to start teaching our children about the river and how important it is. The Plan we are taking about is really protecting our rivers and waterways for our future generations. We need plans for our rivers. People do not understand that if your put a building or a boardwalk or some development it in the wrong location along the river, then it can have other impacts. So, we really want to celebrate the river and let persons have a better sense of the importance of the rivers,” he said.
Mayor of Linden, Ms. Waneka Arrindell, in her welcome remarks, said that she is pleased that individuals are taking a role in the development of the town. She noted too that it takes a collective effort to build the town and it must not be solely left to the elected officials. In this regard, she too extended her commendations to the organisers and vowed that Linden will become a tourist hub in the near future.