“Raising our Standards, Enhancing our Competitiveness” is the theme for the ninth annual Berbice Expo which opened on Friday evening with one objective in mind; promoting the importance of Guyana stepping up in standards.
As patrons crowd the Albion Community Development Centre from July 26-29 participating in this year’s trade fair, they are likely to encounter exhibitors of the best in goods and services from the county.
The event will give businesses such as manufacturers, arts and craft producers and the services sector the occasion to display their standard and quality of products and services.
President Donald Ramotar, who officially declared Berbice Expo open, lauded the organisers for identifying a theme that “captures the very essence of the stage of development that our country is in today.”
Delivering the feature address after a packed programme that included cultural presentations, he identified the kind of infrastructure necessary if Guyana is to earn more from its produce.
Within Berbice itself, he spoke of the intention to invest in a deep water harbour that will accommodate larger vessels and evidently promote trade in goods of larger quantities and value.
This investment will have a similar benefit as the Guyana/Brail road infrastructure link to facilitate easy and more efficient travel and improved trade with northern Brazil.
“All of these offer the possibility for us to earn more, to invest in our people and to build a stronger economy,” President Ramotar said.
The next and perhaps most important factor in the promotion of standards was hydropower which the Government has vowed to complete in the midst of strong Parliamentary opposition.
The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) is projected by the experts to significantly benefit consumers at the domestic and commercial levels. Cheap energy is indispensable in a modern economy, President Ramotar told the gathering.
“If we are going to turn many of our products into finished products, we can add value to them… Berbice is fundamentally an agricultural area… you have the ability here to develop an agro industrial complex to turn your agricultural raw materials into finished industrial products. To do so, the hydropower (Amaila) station is extremely important,” President Ramotar said.
President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry Clinton Urling, a guest speaker at the event, highlighted the importance of passing the prerequisite legislation that will pave the way for approval and construction of the project. He also blasted the political opposition for demonstrating an obvious conflict of interest.
“At least one political opposition party has said at one point that their support for the project will depend on IDB’s assessment and for others it is contingent on local government election bills and the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission. This to me is saying that ‘we believe in the soundness of the project, but our support is contingent on certain conditions’. If you genuinely believe that the project is sound, you should support it without conditions, and if you believe it’s flawed then oppose it with or without conditions,” Urling posited.
Like President Ramotar, Urling favoured the lifting of standards in business saying that it is a pivotal component of a highly competitive economy in a global marketplace, and a plus for trade and exports between Guyana and its regional and international partners. [GINA]