Guyana has hit world headlines several times in its modern history. The news that created these headlines have been negative and related mainly to political events, although the reason for Guyana’s position on the map in recent times, Jonestown, was not essentially political as far as the outside world was concerned. Guyana is a poor, Third World country and the negative publicity has done nothing for its development.
At the current time, the authorities along with the private sector are making monumental efforts to develop a tourist industry. These efforts started some time ago and while progress is being made, there is still much to be done. The obstacles are well known. They are the less than positive image of Guyana from its political history, current political instability, dilapidated infrastructure, low investment in tourism and the state of the City. The latter is a work in progress and while there has been some, the tourist sector is obviously hopeful that there will be much more.
One of the attractive features of Guyana is the presence of water. Tourists like water. Guyana does not have white beaches and blue water and the Atlantic Ocean is muddy and salted; but inland water can be attractive to tourists. It is dark, cool, mysterious, with good fishing, murderous currents and sharp fanged piranhas. The type of adventurous tourists we seek will be attracted to the mix of pleasures and dangers offered by our water.
The entire population, including the Stabroek News, has been misled about the Government’s intention regarding water and the city. The Government has a secret plan. It does not want to end flooding. It wants to encourage flooding of the city as a tourist attraction. Of course, this is a plan in progress, because the floodwaters have to be safe. You cannot have rubbish floating in it or vermin drowning in it, giving rise to leptospirosis from which several persons died in the Great Flood of 2005. All this will be rectified in due course. But it must be expected that the flooding will continue. The plan has not been revealed so far because the Government is afraid that premature disclosure will kill it. I think the Government is mistaken. I believe that disclosure now will result in an outpouring of support because the idea is so unique.
The plan is designed to attract world attention because it exists nowhere else. The Government announced that movable wooden structures would be placed over our canals on which motor vehicles can park. It is hoped that this would ease the severe shortage of parking places in the city. The plan is real but its objective is not to ease the parking problem. This can be done by requiring the monstrosities, called buildings, now going up around the city to have parking facilities. This would slow the growth of the parking problem. Tax and other incentives for buildings to establish parking spaces wherever possible, would mitigate the problem. Widening of streets and the better regulation of parking might also be useful measures. Clearly the proposal for car parks on wood strewn across our canals, is not all it seems on the surface because everyone knows that it would irretrievably damage one remaining relic of our past glory as a garden city, namely, our canals.
The Government’s plan is to create floating car parks. These exist nowhere else in the world and Guyana is well suited for them. In fact our canal system will ensure their success. If movable wooden structures are placed over our canals, on which motor vehicles will park, obviously the wooden structures will float when the canals are flooded. A steering system can be designed for the wooden structures to float by the offices of the owners of the vehicles so that the owners can get them, drive off and go home. When you park you would register with the car park conductor and pay your fee. You would be able to identify him or her by the wad of notes in his or her hand. Employment possibilities would be created for floating car park touts.
While Georgetown would lose all vestige of its past glory as a garden city, it will be embarking on new worldwide fame as the city of floating car parks. Tourists will flock to Guyana, fill the Marriot, Pegasus, Tower and other hotels during the rainy season to see this wondrous marvel of engineering. Guyana will once again be on the map, but for positive reasons.
Such a system has endless possibilities. The Croal Street canal, starting from OP, can be set aside for mini buses. As they float along Croal Street, passing Avenue, then Demico, returning from Demico and along Avenue, and so on, they could be collecting passengers. As soon as they reach dry ground, they will drive off with their loads, only to return and start floating again. Thus passengers will not be stranded in rainy season.
The people of Guyana and Georgetown will enter a new era of riches brought by tourists. It is true that the final nail will be driven into Georgetown as the Garden City, but we will embark on a new, glorious era as Georgetown, the City of Floating Car Parks.