Re-Commissioning Arthur Chung Conference Centre

MINISTRY OF PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS
RE-COMMISSIONING ARTHUR CHUNG CONFERENCE CENTRE

June 7, 2018
ACCC, Liliendaal, ECD

WELCOME AND OPENING REMARKS

SALUTATIONS

  • His Excellency, President David Granger
  • Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo
  • Ag. Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister, Joesph Harmon
  • Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Cui Jianchun
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Colleagues in the Cabinet of Ministers
  • Special Guest, Ms. Leila Walker
  • Special invitees
  • Staff of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications
  • Friends, All …

The pleasure is mine to warmly welcome every person in this room today. Thank you for choosing to spend the afternoon with us, celebrating the fact that this Conference Center that we are so proud of, has been made almost new again, and it is being handed back into our care.

Before I proceed any further, allow me to extend our sincerest gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China that gifted this facility to us in 2006.

Ten years later, in keeping with Article Two of the Implementation Agreement on the Rehabilitation of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, the Chinese Government took it back, rehabilitated the entire complex, added a lot of new, more modern features, and today, Ambassador Cui Jianchen is handing it back to the People of Guyana. And, our Executive President David Granger is here to receive it.

Welcome President Granger.

There is a whole lot to be said about this Conference facility, and you will hear much of it as today’s event proceeds. Much of the information has been in the public domain since the closure was announced in October 2016. Actually, when we made that announcement, the public outcry was loud and we had to come to terms with the fact that this Conference Centre meant a lot to many people:-

  • The business community held their annual general meetings and workshops here
  • The various religious communities chose this venue for the multitude of annual observances 
  • In education, private and public schools came here for their graduations and prize giving ceremonies
  • Brides and grooms have walked these floors
  • And so have visitors from our sister CARICOM countries and South America who came to Guyana for Heads of Government and other summits
  • And this complex was the site of Guyana’s first Coconut Festival

These walls have contained many Guyanese and foreign visitors, and over those 10 years it acquired quite a reputation for excellent service. When the announcement was made to close for repairs, we had to reassure the general public that the repairs were badly needed because there were cracks and uneven settling of the ground floor; we were seeing floor tiles shifting and when we looked closer, we observed structural damage. These things made the buildings unsafe, and there was damage from wear-and-tear at:

  • The entry gates 
  • On several Internal walls 
  • In the Electrical Lighting Panels and the
  • General plumbing, especially in the Bathrooms

Repairs to the complex could not be postponed. We were very sorry to inconvenience the public, but it had to be done. In addition, the Agreement that was signed between our two countries – Guyana and China, contained a commitment by China to come back after ten years to carry out repairs and maintenance.

China kept that promise, and on 1st December 2016, the contractors attached to China Railway 17 Bureau Group Ltd. moved onto the premises and began their examinations. What they found led to the decision to tear up the entire flooring and raise the height by at least two feet.

The cost of this rehabilitation project is approximately US$7M. This cost was not borne by the government of Guyana. It had been included in the Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreements signed by Guyana and China in 2011 and 2012.

At the expense of repeating myself, the cost of this rehabilitation exercise to the Government of Guyana was only the price of on-site security for the duration of the project.

MODERN SYSTEMS
Allow me to itemize some of the new systems added to this conference facility:-

  • A completely refurbished Main Conference Hall (dome) that is now equipped with a new Digital Conference System that can accommodate three different languages spoken simultaneously
  • Video tracking capabilities
  • Modern public address system
  • Video matrix switcher
  • LED screens and overhead projectors 
  • Video conferencing equipment 
  • New Wi-Fi equipment that have transformed the ACCC into an internet hotspot

This Centre now has three main meeting rooms:-

  • The Main Conference Hall with seating for 500 persons
  • The Eastern Conference Room with seating for 220 persons
  • The Western Conference Room with seating for 120 persons

With the exception of the Main Conference Hall, each Conference Room could be divided into a total of five (5) smaller rooms that can each accommodate 60 persons.

The ACCC now has a Computer Lab with 20 internet-ready computers, and this lab can be utilized for computer literacy training, as an internet cafe and a Media Centre.

Other facilities include:-

  • A Conference Secretariat
  • A Business Center
  • First Aid Clinic
  • A Dining Hall and Kitchen

The rehabilitative works itself included:-

  • Re-paving of the interior and external flooring including the terraces, stairs, and water pools
  • Replacing masonry walls
  • Re-installing some ceilings … a section was replaced with reinforced glass
  • Doors, windows and canopies have also been replaced
  • The façade has been repainted
  • There are also new Bathroom appliances and outdoor water supply pipes and pumps
  • Some electrical power supply and distribution equipment were also replaced along with lights, cables, the fire alarm, radio communication systems, and indoor and outdoor air conditioning units

PROJECT MONITORING
The Ministry of Public Telecommunications formed a Project Monitoring Committee to keep track of the works and to offer recommendations to guide the contractor. This Committee was made up of representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public Infrastructure, Business and Public Telecommunications.
I am very pleased to announce that the contractor, China Railway Group, worked night and day to keep the promise of completing these works in 18 months, and they did, on 27th May 2018.

Thank You.

Hon. Catherine Hughes
MINISTER