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Guyana, India sign agreement for rebuilding

first_imgIndian Arrival monumentAfter much controversy surrounding the construction of the Indian Arrival Monument at Palmyra, East Coast Berbice and the embarrassing collapse last year of the structure being erected there, the Governments of Guyana and India have signed an agreement to help rebuild this monument which will be dedicated to Indian arrival in Guyana.The current state of the monumentA high-level ministerial team headed by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman who was performing the functions of Foreign Affairs Minister, and inclusive of Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Social Cohesion Minister Dr George Norton, visited the site at Palmyra on Sunday.Minister Trotman revealed that a cooperation agreement signed between the two Governments will soon see commencement of reconstruction of the historic monument. This is according to the Department of Public Information, which said that a team from the Indian High Commission had also visited the site.For its embarrassing collapse, the Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) Administration has blamed secrecy in the way the coalition Government had undertaken construction of the Indian Arrival Monument. The base of the monument crumbled on April 26, 2017 in the wake of claims by some workers of their not being paid.Prominent national artist Philbert Gajadhar, who along with Winslow Craig designed the Indian Arrival Monument at Palmyra, also blamed the contractors for the collapse. Gajadhar had said the design was not in keeping with what was originally agreed on during the initial phase of the project design.During the visit to Palmyra, Patterson said a soil test showed the 17-ton erection was too heavy to lay on the swampland, which formerly was used as a cane field. It was revealed also that Guyana has agreed to utilize Indian expertise in engineering, architecture and sculpting for the completion of the project.Trotman said the matter would be discussed at Cabinet soon. He said all relevant documents have already been sent to India, and are being examined by experts there.Minister Patterson said the results of the soil tests and other requirements have been provided to the Government of India.While the overall costs associated with reconstruction of this monument are still to be finalised, the Government has said it is keen on having the monument completed soon, especially in light of previous issues experienced.The Government has also said it hopes the monument could be completed in time for the first official visit to Guyana of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, before the end of this year.The initial project, costing $97 million, included construction of a base for a three-ton monument depicting six persons (four adults and two children). The six-foot structure depicting six bronze figures of three men, two women and a child illustrates Indians in their everyday life.In March 2017, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, V Mahalingam, unveiled a signboard depicting the artist’s impression of the monument. The base collapsed on April 25, 2017 as workers were sand filling the structure. A number of Government agencies have since distanced themselves from the project.last_img read more