Task force launched ahead of first oil to push urban development master plan

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Overhead view of a section of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown

An inter-agency task force for crafting an urban development master plan intended to redefine the developmental agenda of the Guyana government, in keeping with the country’s oil and gas sector, was launched on Monday at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown.

Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe believes that the plan is coming at a critical juncture in Guyana’s development. To this end, he alluded to the ineffective traffic management; non-existent priority lanes; a culture of impatience and intolerance; insufficient enforcement of the City laws and by-laws, and insufficient multi-purpose facilities as issues that must be a addressed in the context of the master plan.

He said, “It is therefore, essential that any such Master Plan, must include the consideration of identifying infrastructure needs (on-shore support) such as fabrication and construction, and supply and service opportunities such as transportation and distribution, arising from exploration and development of oil and gas resources in offshore Guyana.”

Dr. Bynoe said it is therefore essential that the Government seek to enhance the participation of local businesses, institutions, associations and individuals in commercial and direct and indirect employment, as well.

Even though, the oil and gas sector is driven by global factors, the Energy Director urged stakeholders to look beyond just the mere production of oil and gas and focus on its impact on Urban development.

He explained that, “At each phase of development, there are a range of opportunities for local and regionally based suppliers as well as the oil and gas companies including for big finds as we have seen in offshore Guyana. Critical for supporting the offshore activities will be production and transportation related services such as heliports.”

In the meantime, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan said the plan is a strategic response by the government, which looks at an organized and structured development framework.

“This is especially important as there will soon be a surge in the demand for public and private infrastructure, particularly urban spaces,” he said.

Mr. Bulkan said aspects of the plan will also look, among other things, at the weak enforcement of building and zoning codes, which to some extent have been hindering the country’s development over the past two decades.

The plan also aims to address the priority areas captured in Guyana’s Green State Development strategy (GSDS).

The task-force is made up of representatives from the Ministry of the Presidency; the Mayor and City Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, the Central Housing and Planning Authority, the Maritime Administration, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Ministry of Business.