Opposition using CJIA relocation issue as ‘fig-leaf’ for disruption – President
Georgetown, GINA, July 22, 2013
The solidarity political opposition figures have shown to Timehri residents who recently voiced disagreement with the announced plan to relocate them from the vicinity of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), is seen by President Donald Ramotar as another attempt to incite animosity.
During a special interview at his office today on current issues and events in Guyana, the Head of State said the opposition is using the Timehri relocation issue as a “fig-leaf for disruption.”
“They are not being very constructive and (are) not demonstrating to the Guyanese people that they have a developmental plan, but they are being more disruptive on these types of activities,” President Ramotar said.
At a July 16 press conference by the Timehri North Community Development Council, in which Alliance for Change Chairman Nigel Hughes was present, the Government was accused of provocation with the announcement to have the residents relocated.
With the loan agreement for the CJIA expansion project already sealed, a relocation plan for about 300 houses with an estimated 815 residents who are considered within the “impact area” is intended. They will be moved to a designated area.
Despite being daunted by the political opposition’s vote against the air transport sector’s $5.6B allocated in the National Assembly in April, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn had assured that the CJIA expansion project will continue.
Residents were told of the relocation plan including concerns by the Government about notable extensions to buildings that occupants were advised against, on the basis that they would have to move.
The Public Works Ministry was also forced to discontinue the operations of agro businesses that were established on the southern side of the airport attracting birds which posed a risk to aircraft.
The relocation plan involves moving the people to a designated area in which they become proud homeowners. It was reported that over 400 lots were being considered for the Timehri squatters.
The CJIA expansion project remains a priority for the government as it seeks to improve the infrastructure necessary for Guyana’s economy to improve and more particularly boost the country’s tourism.
With an extended runway to a total of 10,800 feet, the capacity to accommodate larger category or aircraft will be made possible thus bringing more visitors and make Guyana a hub for regional travel.
In March this year, President Ramotar joined Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin in turning the sod for the airport expansion project that will include a new terminal building, eight boarding bridges, elevators, escalators, three dimensional x-ray scanners, flight information and security monitoring systems.