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Prominent businessman and well-known Stanley Ming has put forward a development plan for Guyana called ‘Guyana 2030’ which primarily highlights the importance of bridging the Essequibo River for exponential development.
However, Ming stressed that unless Guyana’s leaders decide to put aside the tit-for-tat politics and actually focus on nation-building, such development will remain out of reach for current and future generations.
At the introduction of the plan during a presentation at a Guyana Trades Union Cingress forum last Wednesday, Ming made it clear that the Guyana 2030 plan was not a ‘Stanley Ming Plan’ but simply the convergence of the various studies completed by professionals over the years that can be useful collectively. Ming said that such an integrated plan of action could have a transformational impact in propelling Guyana into a modern, prosperous country. “Guyana has been studied ad nauseam. I have studies in my office that go back for the last 60 odd years. The problem is that a lot of those studies have been lost and discarded,” he said.
Giving an example, he pointed out that what is now being called the Mandela bypass road actually originated from a study in 1970 that was presented to former Prime Minister Hamilton Greene.
Ming said: “What I’m presenting today is not a Stanley Ming plan by any means. It’s putting together, in a very logical sequence, the various studies that were done over the last 50 odd years in a way in which we can make progress as a nation.”
Putting forward the case for a bridge across the Essequibo River, the businessman pointed out that, currently, 40 percent of the workforce in Georgetown comes from Region Three. With a new bridge across the Demerara River not yet a reality, persons can spend as much as 2 and a half hours commuting from Region Three via road to Region Four.
Furthermore, Ming highlighted that 50 percent of the fruits and vegetables that Guyana consumes come from Parika and areas surrounding the community. However, he noted that other parts of Region Three — such as the islands and elsewhere — remain only accessible via boat.
To bridge the Essequibo River, he suggested, would easily link Region Four, Region Three — and therefore the majority of Guyana’s population — to more agriculture, business and residential land which is situated on higher ground. Pointing to Leguan, Wakenaam and Hog Island, he said that the three islands are larger than all the Eastern Caribbean islands and there over 360 islands altogether.
“The bridging of the Essequibo can be easily done and that bridging can be done in less than a year,” Ming said. He showed photographs of the community of Monkey Jump on the eastern side of the river and St.Mary’s on the western side of the river as the best possible location for such a bridge.
The gap between the two communities over the Essequibo River is approximately only 500 feet. Ming also spoke about the planned Linden to Lethem road which said already possesses a trail that would give travellers the option to turn off to the Essequibo Coast and cross the Essequibo River if there were a bridge.
He also suggested an alternative to bridge the river via a series of causeways (a raised road or track across low or wet ground) and one high-span bridge built across the aforementioned islands, connecting them to the West and East bank of the Essequibo River.
“That would open this country to development that we cannot even imagine in the future,” Ming said, noting that President Irfaan’s Ali plan to build a four-lane highway in Region Three would also coincide with such a development.
Observing the benefits available in Region Three, Ming said that this is why he moved his major business operations there. Apart from Region Three, Ming said that a bridge across the Essequibo River at another location further South could also easily link Region Four to Bartica.
Ming put forward: “There is no need for more plans. What we need is for implementation…we are not short of options, we are short of ideas in Guyana because this is what is being done around the world. You don’t have to have the money, you have to have the will, the vision and the commitment. We are poor in expediting, we are poor in vision, not in wealth and possibility. That’s our big problem in Guyana. We spend too much time politicking and trying to pull down each other rather than working together as a team and as a united nation.”