Last Updated on Friday, 3 February 2023, 21:47 by Denis Chabrol
The old Georgetown train station would not be demolished but would be rehabilitated into a multi-purpose spot where Guyanese and tourists could go to savour local cuisine, according to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill.
Mr Edghill said tourists staying at nearby major hotels as well as workers in the area would be able to dine at the Old Georgetown train station.
“With Guyana becoming a tourist destination, part of the vision of Lamaha Street where the old train station was located …apart from being a safe space for children and family, we intend to put in place an art gallery, we intend to be able to allow and facilitate local foods so that the people from the prime hotels could come down there and have breakfast in the mornings; the people from the ministries nearby could go and get a good Guyanese lunch,” he told the National Assembly.
He told the National Assembly that a train relic would also be rehabilitated and placed at the location on Lamaha Street between High and Parade Streets to afford Guyanese the opportunity of tracing the history of the railway system in Guyana. “We are not changing the structures. We are keeping it in its old form but we are renewing it, we are rehabilitating it and putting it into use,” he said.
The Cowan/Cummings canal drains freely into the Demerara River but the Lamaha Street trench that runs alongside the old train station is often stagnant and smells rather offensive.
House Speaker Manzoor Nadir remarked that Georgetown was the first country in South America to have had a railway system. “The history behind the terminal itself is amazing,” he said. The first leg of a railway system was introduced in 1848 from Georgetown to Plaisance and then in 1972 it was shut down after the government had found it too expensive to maintain compared to other types of transportation for which fuel had been cheaper at that time.
He said the area was being transformed from a “graveyard” of old excavators and other machinery into a beautified in keeping with government’s urban rehabilitation and renewal programme. He said the machinery has been taken to the Public Works Ministry’s location at Coldingen, East Coast Demerara. “I don’t think that any Guyanese would want to know that you are using prime government land for mechanical work and the rest of it,” he said.