First Lady unveils $25M ‘Welcome to Guyana’ sign at CJIA
A new signature landmark has been set up at the roundabout near the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with the setting up of a 20-feet “Welcome to Guyana” sign and the placement of 100 hanging flower baskets on the light posts from the Timheri junction to the site. The project forms part of the First Lady’s National Beautification Project.
The sign was unveiled on Tuesday by First Lady, Arya Ali, in the company of President Dr Irfaan Ali, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond, foreign diplomats, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CJIA, Mr Ramesh Ghir, and businessman Mr Neal Sukhlall.
Discussions about the project began on August 14 last year between the Office of the First Lady, CJIA, and Impressions – a local branding and marketing company.
“Today’s launch is a demonstration of the successful implementation of this project since it was done through a collaborative approach involving key government agencies and our private sector partners,” Mrs Ali told a small group of invitees to the event.
The undertaking involved landscaping of the entire surrounding area at the CJIA.
The sign was designed, built and installed by Impressions and the hanging baskets were sponsored by oilfield services company TotalTec. The overall cost of the project is estimated to be in excess of $25M.
The First Lady said that she believes that the development of the area will add to the value of Guyana’s tourism experience, and support efforts to market Brand Guyana.
“In an emerging economy like ours, marketing is functionally important. So, every tourist, expat, or even local who snaps a photograph at this multi-million dollar sign and uploads it to their social media profile is helping us to improve and increase Guyana’s brand awareness,” she stated.
The First Lady added that an enhanced public space gives locals in the area something to feel proud of and celebrate.
“Ultimately, for us, it is about providing a better and happier life for our people,” she said.
Similar scenic conservation and revitalization projects undertaken by the Office of the First Lady are ongoing at the Kingston Seawall, Tuschen Community Centre ground, and La Jealousie on the West Coast of Demerara.
Mr Ghir noted the importance of such a project at a time when Guyana is poised for economic transformation and an expansion of the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Mr Ghir was keen to note that post-COVID, Guyana will come in sharp focus and it must be ready to offer tourists a rich package. He also commended the First Lady for her astute leadership in transforming the idea of this project into reality.
Mr Shane Sukhlall, representative of Impressions, also spoke briefly, underscoring the role of the private sector in Guyana’s development. He noted how important it was for the government and the private sector to have symbiotic relationship which ultimately benefits the people of Guyana.
The unveiling was done with the ceremonial cutting of a ribbon after which invitees were allowed a photo opportunity.
The First Lady said that she decided to embark on an ambitious National Beautification Project to safeguard the scenic qualities of Guyana while creating an environmentally friendly society.
She noted that the project relies on scenic conservation and revitalization which can both motivate and accelerate community renewal and reinvestment as part of a larger economic development or master plan.
The project is guided by five principles of scenic conservation and revitalization.
The first, she said, is the retention of the distinctive character of Guyana’s cities, towns, and communities as beautiful spaces to live and work. Secondly, the protection and regulation of the country’s scenic resources.
The third principle involved the regulation and monitoring of all forms of unlawful intrusion on the landscape or community appearance of public spaces. Fourthly, education about the value of scenic conservation and the importance of environmentally-friendly lifestyles. And finally, the establishment of a link between stakeholders to increase Guyana’s tourism capacity. (Press release from Office of the First Lady)