New Wakenaam Pavilion
Following the delivery of a promise made by President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2006 to make land available for the construction of a new pavilion in Wakenaam, the island of about 17.5 square miles at the mouth of the Essequibo river now boasts a spanking new facility.
The pavilion, which costs over $6M was commissioned by President Jagdeo in the presence of a majority of the Island’s residents including representatives of the Wakenaam Nite management committee and Ministers of Tourism Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad, Housing and Water Irfaan Ali and Chairman of Region Three, Julius Faerber.
Recognizing the need to have the island’s youths more meaningfully occupied in cricket, the most favoured sport on the island, dedicated men and women of Wakenaam approached the President four years ago for his assistance. In February 2007 ground preparation efforts began with support from the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and public spirited citizens.
The following year the Wakenaam Nite concept was born and a decision was taken to use the proceeds to construct a pavilion. With support from the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Wakenaam Nite was successfully staged in August 2008 featuring a mini expo and a pageant.
The event was considered the biggest ever on the island and became a highlight event on the Tourism Ministry’s calendar. The event attracted a profit of $1M which was enough to fund construction of the pavilion in September 2008. Later, members of the private sector rendered assistance including famous West Indies cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan who is also a son of the soil.
In his remarks President Jagdeo said his presence on the island was to commend the spirit of partnership which led to the completion of the facility and which is a necessary ingredient to progress. “I have always insisted that if there is more partnership in our country then the progress that we make could be increased one hundred fold and this progress could lead to a better life for everyone, President Jagdeo said.
The Head of State credited the commissioning of the pavilion to the capacity of the government to provide the services much needed across the country. Such a task, he said, could not have been accomplished during the era when Guyana was highly indebted. He said that on several occasions a plethora of requests for assistance come from communities and while the Government is in a better position to meet these requests having emerged from a highly indebted economy to one where four percent of the revenue is now being used to service debt, the Government is unable to stand alone.
“We have always argued that it is only if we capture the collective energy of all our people, only then would we realize the full potential of our country and our country can make the necessary progress that will lead to better lives… it is the communities’ oversight and involvement that make these things run well. It is your children who go to the schools, it is the people of the community who get the services of the hospital so there is a direct benefit of the communities if these things work well,” President Jagdeo said.
Farming (rice, coconut and various vegetables) is the main occupation on this island and the President said he is fully aware of the hardships residents face particularly in times of flooding and drought.