Joe Vieira Park gets US$10M transformation as Guyana/China solidify friendship
Existing for decades as a safe space for citizens seeking leisure and relaxation, the popular Joe Vieira Park at Schoonord, West Bank Demerara, will soon be transformed into a modern recreation space, an enhancement that could cost the Chinese government between US$10 – US$12 million.
Now in an abandoned state and serving as a habitat for wild animals, work on enhancing the park could start by mid-year following the signing of the implementation agreement at the Office of the President on Tuesday.
With the official sod turning set for July, the enhancement works should be completed within 20 months.
The space, which was donated to the regional government by the benefactor, businessman Joe Vieira and falls under the National Parks Commission, will soon become equivalent to what the National Park in Georgetown is to the people of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
Commissioner (ag) of the Protected Areas Commission and the National Parks Commission Jason Fraser said the aim is to retain and improve on the existing green space while providing areas for sporting activities like football and basketball.
Other features include a pond, canopies, a children’s activity centre and picnic lawns.
The central feature of the park design is a Guyana/China friendship monument which commemorates the long and ongoing friendship between Guyana and China.
The agreement on Tuesday was signed by Commissioner Fraser on behalf of the Government of Guyana and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy Mr. Hanming Hu.
Fully funded by China through a grant, Chinese Ambassador Guo Haiyan said this is a testimony to the friendship of the two countries. Since bilateral relations were established 50 years ago in 1972, Ambassador Guo said China has always supported Guyana in people-centered development.
“In order to celebrate and carry forward the friendship the two governments have agreed to build the friendship park,” she said in brief remarks.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud said the signing was the commencement of a comprehensive programme of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations.
“China is a reliable developmental partner in a number of initiatives,” Persaud said as he registered Guyana’s commitment to the One China Policy.
“We have not deviated from that,” he added.
Persaud said the move to develop the Joe Vieira Park is also in pursuit of the President’s vision to develop similar spaces all across the country.