By Vishani Ragobeer
The relocation of the Ministries of Housing and Water, and Education and the establishment of new facilities are among the government’s plans to transform Houston, on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), into a new development zone.
This was announced by President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Tuesday when he attended a sod-turning ceremony for a new hotel in that area.
The new Mandela to Eccles roadway, the President explained, was a key initiative that the government pursued, not only because it allowed for easier traffic flow, but because it provides access to unused lands that are ripe for development.
“The area was just a swamp, huge trees and heavily overgrown…
“In just a year, we have a new highway (and) you have this entire area now opened up,” the President highlighted.
And indeed, parts of the eastern side of that road, which was covered in trees, have now been cleared in preparation for future development, including the new hotel.
“We have also discussed [building] a mall, a possible second hotel, the movement of a number of government ministries to this zone including the Ministry of Housing and Water, the Ministry of Education and the telecommunications sector.
“Before the end of this year, we expect that physical work will commence in all of these areas,” President Ali said.
Industrial and commercial development to support the nascent oil and gas sector will also feature prominently in this area which the President has termed a “zone of development”, noting that it will create thousands of jobs.
Meanwhile, Chief Investment Officer of GO-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop noted that several large companies have already set up operations in the area.
TechnipFMC, for example, has moved all of its subsea assembly from Trinidad to its Houston base in Guyana.
Even beyond this though, President Ali also said that the Houston area connects the East Coast and East Bank corridors. With this connection, the region is poised for greater economic activity and it will be much easier to integrate the creation of the new city – Silica City.