Railway proposal is a ‘concept,’ says Good Earth CEO

President Bharrat Jagdeo’s recent engagement with Good Earth Development concerning the construction of a railway from Brazil to Guyana was just an introductory encounter where a concept was communicated to the Head of State, says company CEO Mark Chatarpal.

Good Earth Development is a fledgling company keen on producing “concepts” for development, and its recent engagement with the Presi-dent saw such a concept being pitched about constructing a railway from Boa Vista, Bra-zil to the Guyana coastland.

“It is a concept we proposed to the government and it is being developed,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Chatarpal told Stabroek News, stating that the plan is still in its initial phase. “Our concept is based on the railway and facilitating transfer of goods into the Atlantic and into the State of Roraima and deep into Manaus,” Chatarpal said.  He said that the proposal of a railway from Brazil to Guyana would only make sense if a deep water harbour is constructed here. The route of the proposed railway would depend on where the deep sea port is located.
Earlier this month, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that representatives from Good Earth Development had met with President Bharrat Jagdeo to “facilitate discussions for (a) coalition among Guyanese engineers and financiers” to build a railway between Boa Vista, Brazil and Georgetown. The company is soon to have a Guyana office, GINA said.

Guyana had previously not been discussing a railway between Boa Vista and Georgetown and it is unclear how it is only now being addressed with just a few more months in President Jagdeo’s term.  It was during a recent ‘One Stop Shop’ exercise at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, that Jagdeo had disclosed ideas for a railway from Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara to Mahaica on the East Coast of Demerara as he spoke of plans to expand the country’s infrastructure.

The discussion about the railway follows news from neighbouring Suriname that it is discussing a railway to Brazil and a deepwater harbour with China. It is believed that if Paramaribo was to accomplish these two projects it would seize the initiative in providing Atlantic Ocean access to Brazil’s northern states.

Chatarpal told this newspaper that his firm is currently establishing an office here and is in the process of establishing a strong online presence. The company’s parent company, he said, is Project Development International (PDI), a company which helps to fund development projects.   Good Earth Development, the CEO explained, helps to development concepts and to package them in a way to make it more attractive to donor funding.  PDI, he said, is currently developing a railway from Manaus to Boa Vista, in Brazil.

“We are a firm that is putting out concepts for development and the way how we are interpreting our way of doing development is very different from all these established businesses around,” Chatarpal said. “We are trying to enforce a sense of responsibility in how we do things. So if you’re going to have a project it must have a strong social benefit towards the environment…outside of creating mere employment.” There is strong environmental aspect to the programme, he said.

Gregory Shaw, the company’s Director of Operations, said that the company has already engaged some private investors locally on projects which are now being assessed for feasibility. These include an eco-tourism hotel, a recycling plant, and a housing development.

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