A reconstructed building of the National Assembly (DNA) and the building of the former Ministry of General Affairs will be visible again in 2022 on the corner of Henck Arronstraat and Grote Combéweg. Yesterday, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of the two buildings.
According to assembly chairman Jennifer Geerlings-Simons, the two buildings will have to make way again if they are restored to their former glory. It is worth seeing the buildings as a tourist and as an average citizen, she believes.
The old building of the National Assembly was completely destroyed by fire on August 1, 1996, which was seen as a great loss, because the building was a monumental building. Simons indicates that of the current parliament, she is the only member of parliament who has still met in the old building. Unfortunately, she only worked briefly in the old DNA building after being elected an assembly member in 1996. “I used to work here,” says Simons.
She says that it took a long way to get the old building to be rebuilt. The first floor is designed in such a way that citizens can go there for historical matters.
Minister Lilian Ferrier of Education, Science and Culture (MinOWC) indicates that the city center of Paramaribo has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2002. In her opinion, it is important to seize the opportunities to enable the recovery and reconstruction of these properties.
In 2017, a loan was taken out with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to rehabilitate a number of historic buildings, marking the start of urban regeneration. The minister indicates that the Waterkant is also part of the Stadsherstel project. The project is implemented by the Paramaribo Urban Rehabilitation Program (PURP). MinOWC and its working arms are responsible for coordination and implementation. The supervision is in the hands of the Surinamese company KDV Architects. Construction is in the hands of the 23rd Metallurgical Construction Group Co. Ltd. or Minmetals.