Na­tional Trust not no­ti­fied of State House re­pairs, re­paint­ing

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

The

APNU/AFC coali­tion is wast­ing tax-pay­ers’ money to re-paint­ing gov­ern­ment build­ings in green, a colour as­so­ci­ated with the coali­tion and us­ing the ex­cuse that it rep­re­sents amove towads a green econ­omy.

The of­fices and fence of the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency is now in green and re­cently, a sec­tion of State House, the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the Head of State, has been re­paired and re­painted in green.

There have been ob­jec­tions to this move by the gov­ern­ment which says that even­tu­ally all gov­ern­ment build­ing will be in green. It has also been ob­served that many state func­tions have been dec­o­rated with the colour of the coali­tion, mainly green and gold.

Re­cently the Na­tional Trust of Guyana which has re­spon­si­bil­ity for his­tor­i­cal sites such as State House, has com­plained that it was not not in­formed of the re­pairs,

A sec­tion of State House, a na­tional mon­u­ment, is be­ing re­paired and re­painted by gov­ern­ment but no per­mis­sion was sought from the Na­tional Trust of Guyana, which has over­all re­spon­si­bil­ity for such sites.

Nir­vana Per­saud, the Trust’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, while in­form­ing that the re­pair works are wel­comed, told the media that any ma­jor works, in­clud­ing re­pairs and re­paint­ing, must be com­mu­ni­cated to the Trust. As a re­sult, she said a let­ter will be penned to the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency about the mat­ter.

Fol­low­ing the swear­ing in of Des­mond Trot­man as a Gecom Com­mis­sioner, Pres­i­dent David Granger was asked if State House was “go­ing green,” based on the fact that a sec­tion of the build­ing un­der re­pair was be­ing re­painted green. Pre­vi­ously, it was white. In re­sponse, the Pres­i­dent said “Guyana is go­ing green.”

The green paint has a broader con­text as it has been seen as a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt by the gov­ern­ment to per­pet­u­ate the pre­dom­i­nant colour of the gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Green is also as­so­ci­ated with A Part­ner­ship for Na­tional Unity and the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Congress Reform, both of which are led by Granger. The Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency is also be­ing painted in the same green even though this had not been the orig­i­nal colour. At one point, ca­nary yel­low had also been in­tro­duced in the colour scheme of the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency but it was painted over. Yel­low is the pre­dom­i­nant colour of the other mem­ber of the gov­ern­ing coali­tion, the AFC. Weeks af­ter win­ning the 2015 gen­eral elec- tion, green and yel­low paint be­gan ap­pear­ing on a range of items in pub­lic places and this at­tracted crit­i­cisms.

Per­saud said that the Trust was never of­fi­cially told about any re­pairs but be­cause of its close prox­im­ity to the Pres­i­dent’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence, the works were no­tice­able. She ex­plained that the Trust is sup­posed to be in­formed about any plans to re­pair a her­itage site. “We weren’t in­formed at all…,” she said be­fore mak­ing it clear that the Trust has no prob­lem with the re­pairs be­ing done. “We wel­come any his­toric prop­erty be­ing re­paired but re­cently ….we no­ticed they changed the colour… ma­jor changes, such as the colour and re­pairs, gen­er­ally once it in­volves changes, ought to be com­mu­ni­cated to us and dis­cussed so that we are all on the same page. I know the Pres­i­dent and us, we are for preserva- tion,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Per­saud, in­quiries were made and the Trust was re­ferred by State House’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency and the Trust is in the process of fol­low­ing up.

”We are go­ing be send­ing an of­fi­cial let­ter shortly to the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency”, she said be­fore ex­press­ing be­lief that the change in colour is linked to gov­ern­ment’s plan to cre­ate a green state.

Per­saud in­formed that she has no­ticed that more win­dows on the build­ing have been re­placed with mod­ern ones. “It is a na­tional mon­u­ment un­der the Na­tional Trust law, so for that rea­son it should have been com­mu­ni­cated. Maybe it was an over­sight”, she stressed.

Ac­cord­ing to the Trust’s web­site, State House, which is the Of­fi­cial Res­i­dence of the Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­i­dent of Guyana, is some­times ad­dressed as Guyana House and was for­merly known as Gov­ern­ment House. The orig­i­nal struc­ture was built in 1823 on a small piece of land be­long­ing to the first Angli­can Bishop to Bri­tish Guiana, Wil­liam Piercy Austin.

In 1853, the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment bought the build­ing, which was de­scribed as a two-storey tim­ber struc­ture with a dou­ble stair­way fac­ing Carmichael Street, which stood on two-me­tre (eight feet)-high brick pil­lars. Some­time in the early 20th cen­tury, the en­trance was re­lo­cated to Main Street and some ad­di­tional work was done to im­prove the aes­thetic of both the build­ing and the com­pound. Af­ter in­de­pen­dence, the build­ing was re­named State House, since it no longer housed gov­er­nors but the pres­i­dents of an in­de­pen­dent Guyana.

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