The closest that this newspaper was able to come to getting anyone in authority to talk about some of the likely features of the APNU-AFC coalition’s first full annual budget came during an extended interview with Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin on Wednesday.
Anything remotely resembling accurate monitoring and measurement of growth in Guyana’s small business sector has not been possible over the years since no reliable mechanism exists for so doing.
There was something more than a trifle curious about last week’s announcement that City Hall had called a halt to construction work on the 81-82 Camp and Robb streets construction site after it had been determined that the developer had apparently gone ahead with the exercise without receiving the requisite permission from the City Engineer’s Department.
There were things about the seasonal commercial activity that were different this year. Over time we have drifted from the culture of small, downtown stores crammed to capacity with shoppers fully prepared to cope with the discomfiting downside of Christmas shopping to a handful of more spacious, better-appointed, multi-storeyed shopping malls, laid out to accommodate larger numbers of boutique-type stores, with open spaces and cafeterias thrown in for good measure.
Several months ago this newspaper was briefed by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Norman McLean about the planned staging of a public/private business/economic forum which, as we understood it, was intended to chart a course for a longer-term relationship between the business sector and the new political administration.
There was an encouraging sense of entrepreneurship amongst many of the vendors who placed their goods on display at last month’s first ever Small Business Exposition.
One assumes that (sooner rather than later) there will be some sort of official assessment of last weekend’s Business Exposition, the event being the first of its kind and the organisers, presumably, wanting to determine whether the event might have been sufficiently successful to warrant its annualisation.
There would not have been a Small Business Exposition but for the fact—at least so we are told—that as far as the annual GuyExpo is concerned we are saving our effort for the 50th Anniversary of Guyana’s independence at which time we will stage what is likely to be the biggest GuyExpo ever.
It has been a memorable week for the local aviation sector, for the wrong reasons. An increasingly stormy squall has erupted over who controls the Ogle International Airport facility which has been upgraded beyond recognition in recent years, an accomplishment for which the aviation sector must be applauded.
News that Guyana has invited the Director of the Hospitality Institute of Barbados to give support to the creation of a similar facility here in Guyana is welcome, even if it leaves us none the wiser as to a time frame for the creation of our own local centre of excellence as far as raising the bar in the hospitality sector is concerned.
It is entirely fair to give City Hall a gentle pat on the back for what we expect is an ongoing effort to change the appearance of the city – and its own image in the process – even as it appears to enjoy a relationship with the present administration than it apparently did with the previous one.
At a time when governments in developed countries are embracing legislative measures to protect their populations against food-borne diseases associated with lax importation policies that pay less than careful attention to food imports, it behooves governments in poor countries, which, on account of their already profligate and often less than carefully overseen import policies, to follow suit by adhering to their own already existing laws and regulations and where necessary to have those tightened.
The announcement by the Government Analyst Food & Drugs Department earlier this week about a particular brand of milk that the information on the label does not accurately communicate to the consumer the contents of the product and some possible health issues may well have passed unnoticed amongst a sizeable section of the consuming public.
There has been some evidence, recently, of a deliberate attempt on the part of government to accord tourism a higher national profile.
During the course of a conversation with a group of agro processors last week, Stabroek Business learnt that across the country several hundred would-be entrepreneurs continue to be constrained in their ambitions on account of their inability to take their pursuits to the next level, that is to say beyond the stage of producing a few bottles of pepper sauce or ground seasoning in their kitchens and selling these to family and friends and at small stalls in the municipal markets.