Clean-up campaign instilling cultural change, responsibility among Guyanese

With Guyana expanding its tourism and hospitality sector, the government is pushing for a cultural change and instilling a sense of responsibility among Guyanese to keep their environment clean as it seeks to restore the Garden City, through the national clean-up campaigns spearheaded by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

These were the views of Ministers of Government and private sector representatives who participated in yet another successful edition of the campaign held on Saturday. The exercise commenced in the wee hours at varying locations across the country.

Clean-up activities in Georgetown saw cabinet members, citizens, private sector representatives, and members of the disciplined forces decked out in their protective gear, participating in the very important exercise.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr

Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI) along the Kingston Seawall, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. stated, “That’s what we set out to achieve, it’s not just about cleaning for the day, it’s about the change in culture in our culture. We have evidence in the country to show that culture on a small scale can lead to different outcomes,” he stated.

Meanwhile, at the Marriot Beach, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill noted that this is part of a wider initiative to transform Guyana; but that aspect of cooperation is needed.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill

“Guyana is not the old shabby, broken-down looking country … we are modernising, we are transforming … the main message is a culture change. The Ministry of Public Works we have contractors that are engaged for keeping this seawall clean but the volume of what you see here, in terms of garbage being left behind, got to change,” said Minister Edghill.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai participating in the clean-up exercise

Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai who was spearheading the exercise at Camp Street to Vlissingen Road called on Guyanese to practice responsible behaviour as it relates to the environment.

“I would want to appeal to the citizens of our country that we bear in mind that we need to have a clean environment and to practice responsible sanitation,” she stated.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

Also, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn who joined members of the Guyana Police Force also expressed satisfaction with the high turnout on Saturday’s exercise.

“The hope going forward is that this clean-up will encourage people to employ safe disposable practices for garbage and other things they wish to dispose of, so one hopes that as we go forward those who use these places will dispose of their garbage property,” he stated.

Representatives of the Joint Services and a representative of the private sector, Anand Mangru also spoke with DPI.

He expressed the view that these exercises serve as a mechanism for cultural change, “That is why the support is so tremendous this morning and as you know it’s going on countrywide, so it’s happening, it’s making a change and when it comes from the top, sometimes example has to be set from the top and it is happening,” he added.

Divisional Officer Administration of the Guyana Fire Service, Haimchandra Persaud also noted the importance of cleanliness being practised at the national level.

He stated, “We have a lot of tourists coming into our country and I have also been travelling and I have noticed one of the things that speak volumes is when the place is clean … and so I would implore other citizens and other members of the Joint services, we can also speak to members who love to throw away their garbage to desist.”

Major Edmond Blair added, “This national clean-up exercise is you might just want to see it as a national clean-up exercise but I see it more as an enhancement exercise because we want to enhance our capital city, so when persons visit the capital city they don’t see it as a city that is littered with garbage but they would see it as a place they would want to come.”

Ranks of the Guyana Fire Service members are working in various parts of the city to wash various areas that have been identified. Saturday’s exercise saw the participation of 1400 persons – signalling success in the government-led initiative.