Representatives of the Government of Suriname,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Members of business and industry,
and Members of the media.
Thank you for joining us this morning, and for making your way through dust and dirt. At a construction site, you expect a certain amount of mess. It shows there is work in progress!
Two and half years ago, my predecessor broke ground here to mark the purchase of the land for our Embassy. Today, we are pleased to welcome you back for the official start of construction for our new U.S. Embassy.
Building this new complex reaffirms the enduring friendship between the United States and Suriname and provides benefits to both parties.
The new facility will provide Embassy personnel with a safe, secure and modern facility and its construction provides Suriname with significant investment in the building sector.
Our contractor, BL Harbert, is already working with a number of local suppliers for materials and will be seeking additional contractors to perform technical and administrative functions.
We are also proud that the Embassy’s design incorporates a number of innovative, sustainable, green features suited to Paramaribo’s unique environment.
You notice that we are above the street level. The site was previously raised two meters to place the buildings above the 100-year flood level.
This feature will prevent flooding on the compound, while other features on the site will help alleviate flooding of the surrounding area.
The facilities rainwater management system will take advantage of the rainfall.
Rainwater retention ponds will help regulate the flow of excess rainwater into the city water system.
Porous paving, green roofs, and rain gardens will capture rainwater, which will be treated on-site, and almost entirely eliminate the need for city-treated water.
Inside the building, light fixtures will be designed to respond to natural light and dim or brighten accordingly.
And, the facility’s mechanical system will be optimized to reduce energy use.
The facility’s design and construction is targeting U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification as a measure of the level of sustainable performance.
I hope that the Embassy will enhance this neighborhood and expect that we will enjoy this Embassy complex for many years into the future.
I now invite Senior Project Manager Charles Johnson of BL Harbert to join me as we unveil their sign to mark the start of construction on this site.
Next, I invite Minister Belfort to join us in laying ceremonial bricks.