Joy Agness exudes an ill-concealed enthusiasm about the prospects of putting both her business skills and her creative talents to work in the service of her country. Her investment aspirations centre around significantly raising standards in the country’s services sector in order to better prepare the country to offer improved hospitality both to Guyanese residing at home as well as to visitors.
The Destination Wedding Specialist, Wedding Planner and Event Designer, who, along with large numbers of other Guyanese left their adopted homes in Europe, North America and elsewhere to celebrate the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary, disclosed to Stabroek Business in an interview shortly before returning to Florida that she will return to Guyana in October to follow up a planned multi-million-dollar investment in the tourism and leisure industry and to execute what she hopes will be a standards-raising initiative in the hospitality sector that will target a range of workers in the various sub-sectors.
And in her capacity as a Destination Wedding Specialist, Agness is seeking to deepen engagements that she has already had with Second Vice President and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Tourism Minister Kathy Hughes regarding amendment to legislation and creating the requisite infrastructure to make Guyana a choice destination for wedding tourism.
If credentials are anything to go by Guyana’s search for able and qualified nationals who are disposed to helping raise standards in some of the potentially key sectors of the country’s economy may well have landed on the right doorstep. A qualified nurse and the holder of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, Agness is the proprietor and chief executive officer of Joy Agness Events, an upmarket event planning firm certified by the renowned US event designer and wedding planner Preston Bailey.
Last week, in pursuit of plans to construct a 30-room hotel at Wismar, Agness visited the mining town where she engaged in discussions with Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland and regional officials regarding the acquisition of land for the construction of the hotel.
The businesswoman said that the project will also focus on the utilization the waterways in the area where the hotel is likely to be built to create facilities for aquatic recreation and entertainment. She said that based on the outcome of an on-site meeting with the Linden officials she had gleaned the distinct impression that the community was keen to embrace the initiative. “Obviously, one of my concerns was with job creation and the development of facilities that would attract visitors to Linden,” Agness said. The project, which according to the potential investor was likely to provide work for 60-70 persons, was also seeking to take strategic advantage of the planned roads between Bartica and Linden and between Lethem and Linden.
In an invited comment, Holland told Stabroek Business that “any such investment was likely to contribute to the envisaged transformation of the community. A four-star hotel in the community would definitely amount to a major visitor attraction.”
Come October Agness will execute what she hopes will be a major Wedding and Event Planning Conference at the Princess Ramada Hotel. She said that during the planning she will be seeking to mobilize broad-based representation from across the hospitality and leisure services and entertainment sectors to participate in the forum. Her aim, she said is to “expose stakeholders from across the related sectors to service standards that would lift Guyana’s profile as a tourist destination.”
Agness said her meeting with Ramjattan and Hughes were upbeat. She said Ramjattan had indicated that he saw no difficulty with the desired amendment to existing legislation, which was required to better position Guyana as a wedding destination. Therefore, she said, she would shortly be placing her ideas on the issue in a memorandum to him and that he had indicated that he intended to take the matter to Cabinet.