There are some positive things happening in Guyana that we don’t seem to hear about, or are reminded of. How many of us know that the only fully automated concrete block factory in the Caribbean is located in Guyana?
I had the honour of visiting KSM Investments at the invitation of its owner Mr. Mahadeo Panchu last Saturday where I saw firsthand the operations of this state-of-the-art concrete block factory which also produces “pavers” which are special blocks that are used for paving roads, sidewalks, medians etc. This almost US$10 million investment has generated 20 direct jobs and more employment can be created if more of the blocks and pavers are used for local construction of buildings, roads, pavements, parking lots and medians. The new parking lot at State House, official residence of the President of Guyana was recently paved with pavers manufactured at KSM Investments.
My visit revealed an operation that is carried out with precision to ensure a consistent quality product which is just not plenty sand and some cement. These products consist of a mixture of a type of gravel, cement and sand based on a specified international quality control ratio of each of these inputs and each batch is weighed to ensure that there is consistency in the quality. This is monitored from a sophisticated control room which can immediately detect any discrepancy in the ratio of inputs. I am quite impressed with this operation especially since I see an increasing number of high rise buildings in Guyana. I am told that many of these new high rise buildings are using these high quality blocks but that many contractors and subcontractors on government projects such as schools are still not using these high quality blocks which help to ensure the stability and safety of these structures.
I know that the shovel and spade production of concrete blocks/slabs generates significant employment and this must be taken into account. But we should not be compromising safety, especially on government buildings such as schools and high traffic offices. Also, the use of pavers on select roads (certainly not highways) could also prove advantageous since these pavers are everlasting, and where there is sinkage/erosion the pavers can be removed, the base refilled and the same pavers put back.
I am impressed by the operations of this entity which I was not aware of prior to my visit. Mr. Panchu and I are friends on Facebook and met for the first time last Saturday. His investment deserves every support. This factory should be operational at full capacity not only to generate more employment but to ensure that our buildings meet internationally established safety standards.