Guyana is one of six Caribbean countries targeted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) International for a Cdn$23.2M project to bolster local economic development.
“The initiative will be facilitated in partnership with stakeholders at the local government level, the aim of which is to support expansion of entrepreneurship endeavours by small producers and manufacturers,” the Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported.
FCM International Director Sebastien Hamel and Project Director Naresh Singh, accompanied by Canadian High Commissioner David Devine and Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum Lucy Slack introduced the concept to President Donald Ramotar.
The project would be targeting communities across the country, including the hinterland areas where an intense period of investment would be made over three years. At the close, this model would then be shared with the wider Caribbean Community. The second stage of the project will see a technical mission implemented that will conduct baseline studies in the countries to assess their suitability for the project. The study will start next month and conclude by mid-April.
In an invited comment, Hamel told GINA that FCM International has 100 years of experience in the field of collaboration with municipalities in various countries. He was also pleased that at the close of the session, the president had endorsed the idea. “Both the head of the presidential secretariat and the president have deep interest in this project for us to go forward,” Hamel said.
According to GINA, Ambassador Devine sees the project as another step towards closer sustainable relationship between the Guyanese and Canadian governments through partnerships in various sectors.
During the course of the day, the team also engaged other senior government officials, including Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Norman Whittaker on the project. Whittaker said if initialised, the project will provide the kind of guidance that is needed to fully utilise country’s resources. “Guyana has tremendous resources but what is needed is some building of capacity, some guidance on choices of how to use the resources to help create jobs and provide more earnings for people,” he said.