$1.3B Durban Park not “White Elephant,” used for exercising and playing- Harmon

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Minister of State Joseph Harmon was today (Thursday, May 04, 2017) asked about the Government’s decision to utilise the Stabroek Market square for the 51st Independence anniversary Celebrations. He told media operatives that the event planners have the right to choose any facility available.

On April 27, the Department of Culture announced that the 51st Independence Anniversary flag raising ceremony will be hosted at the Stabroek Market Square. This comes even though the Government would have spent over $1B on the development of the Durban Park project which was used for the Jubilee celebrations last year.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

“The Durban Park is a venue for National Events as we have several venues for national events in this country. And so, depending on what that event is, the planners or the organisers of that event can choose any of the several areas that we have,” he said.

The culture department had noted that some infrastructural works are scheduled to be undertaken at the Stabroek Market square to facilitate the event.

Harmon sought to dispel claims that the Durban Park facility has become a “white elephant,” referring to an article published in local newspapers.

He said “since the Durban park was built, I can say to you at least once per month or more, that various organisations in this country have been using the Park for various activities. That every afternoon, you can go there, you just walk there and take your cameras, you see people are exercising, they are using the place, you see children playing, so it is not as is portrayed in your article that this is a white elephant.”

He added the park is also used by several religious organisations.

In an article appearing in today’s Stabroek news, it was noted that the 51st Independence Anniversary flag-raising ceremony at the Stabroek Market Square has been rescinded and the government is now considering using the Parade Ground. Quoting Town Clerk Royston King, it added that the stakeholders took a practical look at the option and discovered that there would be too many challenges to prepare the area for the event.

However, this is still to be confirmed by the Department of Culture which falls under the Ministry of Education.

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