President David Granger has told the residents of Tuseneng, Potaro-Siparuni that the region must be promoted as an investment destination and reducing the cost of transportation was pivotal.
According to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency, he told them on Monday that the keys to improving the economic prospects of their village and region rests in improving the physical infrastructure to reduce the cost of transportation for goods to markets. He also cited the use of sustainable energy to lower the cost of production and the development of agro-processing initiatives. He called on the Regional Chairman to work with the Government to promote Region Eight as a destination for investment.
“Being here is not ornamental, he [the Regional Chairman] is here and I would like to ask him to sell Region Eight as a destination for investment. Let the people who dig the gold and diamonds out of Region Eight bring money in to invest in farms and factories to make Region Eight more prosperous. We need investment in this Region. We have the land, we have the labour… what we need is the capital. We need the investment,” President Granger said.
The President described the Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE), the eighth of its kind in 20 months in Guyana, as important since each event has allowed the regions to zero in on their economic potential. The Potaro-Siparuni, Region Eight, he said, is known for its fertile valleys and is capable of producing some of the finest agricultural products in the country. Infrastructural challenges, however, particularly in remote villages like Tuseneng, is a hurdle that the Government must work with the Region to overcome.
He said, “Everyone one of you knows that this region has the potential, not only to feed itself, but to feed the rest of Guyana, but the difficulty is not only in producing the commodity but getting it to the market… I want the people of the Potaro-Siparuni to be able to drive from the East to the West, from the North to the South, like any other Region. We can’t do this this week or next month, but we are working to ensure that the infrastructure is developed in this great region.”
Granger also said that economic and trade fairs, such as RACE offers the opportunity for members of the private sector to work with the Central Government, the regional administration and the village leaders to take advantage of business opportunities and help to propel the Region’s economic prospects.
“This is not a casual excursion. I’ve come here on a business mission; I’ve come here to examine the potential of this community, to see in what ways we can increase the profit to ensure there is greater participation and to provide an opportunity for you to do better,” the Head of State said.
According to the release, Regional Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks used the opportunity to applaud the Government for improvements in infrastructure in the Region.
“I can tell you Mahdia; the roads are still being concreted and in the very near future we’ll be having good roads. We’re enjoying some already. The road to Bartica is being upgraded… It’s being done. I could tell you they are as far as Denham Bridge, not quite finished but they’re still working on it. I was speaking to Minister (of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney) Allicock last year and I was telling him Minister, the day when we can drive from Kanapang to Lethem [and] Georgetown will be a day when all our dreams as a Region will be so comfortable. One that will open up our Region to much more things that we have. We have a lot of potential. And as I speak, I was at the consultation of the hydro-plant that will be built at Kato just last week. So great things are in store for us in this Potaro-Siparuni,” he said.
Toshao Phillip Geronimo welcomed the President, noting that this is the First time that a Head of State has visited the village and also the first time Tuseneng has hosted such a large event.
President Granger also handed over an All-Terrain Vehicle to the Community Development Officer, a keyboard to the Toshao, along with a quantity of sport gear and kites for the children attending the event. The exhibition, though small, saw the participation from hundreds of residents of neighbouring villages, with some walking from as far as Paramakatoi to attend the event, the statement said.