President Dr Irfaan Ali has said that while Bartica has the potential to be transformed into a major logistics hub, this cannot be done without the expansion into other sectors, such as agriculture and the services industry.
He made this remark on Wednesday at a community outreach in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). Recognising that Bartica is primarily a mining community, the Head of State contended that it must not be limited to this sector alone.
“You have the potential to become a major logistics hub for the mining sector. But in order for you to become a major logistics hub for the mining sector, we must be able to produce food, and we must be able to provide services, whether it’s banking services, machining services, mechanical services,” he said.
“We need to create a service hub in Region Seven, but we need to do it in a very structured way, because you already have a lot of investment in Region Seven catering for the services industries, but it’s not structured,” he stated.
Moreover, President Ali pointed to the looming food crisis and Guyana’s role in combating this, especially within the Caribbean Community (Caricom). To this end, he underscored the need for all the regions to be a part, and mentioned some initiatives that Government wants to implement in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni.
“We need to work with Region Seven, with a school system, with young people, with single parents, to use technology and improve our ability to produce more food in this region, so that it can become not only an agricultural activity, but an economical and financial activity, improving disposable income for the families,” he declared.
“Our task, as a country and as a Government, is to put more disposable income in the pockets of people. Once we put more disposable income in our pocket, you will have more resources to have higher standard of living, and this is what starts building prosperity,” the Guyanese Leader noted.
Moreover, he noted that Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha would be in the Region soon to conduct an assessment on expanding the schools’ shade house programme.
“Imagine we have a school-feeding programme in all our schools. Imagine if every school now, we can have single parents who have children in those schools doing one or two shade houses in every school, and supplying the school kitchen with the food from those shade houses. That is how you build economic opportunity, that is what you call the trickle-down effect of investment from the Government,” he stated.
President Ali went on to talk about his Government’s investments to ensure that all children have access to good quality education and healthcare. These, he noted, are two fundamental pillars on which the transformation of the country would be built.
According to the President, his administration has already started work in this regard with the upgrades of hospitals and schools. But more important than this, he outlined, is building the human resource capacity to deliver the service in health and education.
“So, very shortly, we will be coming to this region to recruit persons who want to work in the healthcare system,” he revealed.
In the same breath, the Head of State went on to highlight the importance of infrastructural transformation of the region. This, he noted, ties into enhancing the region’s tourism potential.
“The tourism potential of this region is enormous, but for that tourism potential to be realised, we have to do a few things. We have to ensure people are trained,” he said.
In fact, he noted that Government is looking to train some 6,000 persons to work in the tourism and hospitality sector. However, the President said that in order to attract tourists to the region, there needs to be transformative infrastructure.
“If we are to build tourism, whether it is day tourism or night tourism or long stay, we have to be able to build a product that is connected to a wider product, and we have to build the infrastructure that will allow us to build that product here; and we’re already talking about new hinterland connections, new roadways, starting a project that can allow you to drive almost on the opposite side of Bartica,” he stated.
Another critical development in the region, the Head of State said, is the enhancement of a municipal airstrip.
“These are things that are necessary to prop up the type of investment and type of projects that we want to be delivered here,” President Ali posited.