Taking the local craft industry forward

At face value it may not sound like a great deal and, moreover, it is only one of a multitude of initiatives required to address the varied challenges facing the local craftspeople and artisans and their industries.

The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association

Whether President of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) Clinton Williams would have made much headway during his presentation at last Friday’s Annual General Meeting in his quest to persuade his audience that the umbrella body had made meaningful strides in overseeing the development of the manufacturing sector under his watch is not something that can be determined from a distance.

Giving real meaning to Occupational Safety and Health

More than a week into April – Occupational Safety and Health Month – little if anything has been heard from either the government or the private sector about plans to commemorate what, in Guyana’s particular circumstances is an occasion of considerable significance if only because of our own less than stellar record on the issue of workplace safety and health.

Tracking the MSE Project

It has been two months since around 60 beneficiaries received grants totalling some $20 million under the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups’ project.

Drug trafficking and our export markets

In relatively recent years—at least as far as we know—a range of our food exports have been used as conduits for the movement of illicit drugs to export markets, a practice that has begun to negatively affect the country’s reputation as a legitimate exporter.

Supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of our womenfolk

The keenness of women to embrace self-employment reflects itself at several levels of our society, from the preponderance of vendors in the various municipal markets, arcades and pavements in the city and its environs to the more established ‘high street’ and services entities in the beauty, entertainment and other sectors.

Bettering our abysmal workplace safety and health credentials

We take our role as a “business supplement” to mean, among other things, that we have a responsibility to report not only on substantive business issues but on related ones as well, that is, matters which we feel have a critical bearing on business and the economy.

The Avon closure

There were some revealing stories to be told this week by persons, mostly women, involved in the marketing of Avon products here in Guyana following the announcement by the American company that it was closing its distribution operations in sixteen Caribbean countries, including Guyana.

Public, private sector indifference to workplace safety and health

Up to the time of the writing of this editorial neither the public nor the private sector had bothered to make a public comment on the fact that there were two workplace accidents on the two preceding Fridays; the first in the bauxite industry and the second in the rice sector.

Holding BCGI’s Russian management to account

A few weeks ago Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud provided responses to questions put to him by this newspaper about conditions in the mining sector covering both the gold and bauxite industries and embracing such issues as the general state of health of the respective industries, safety and health, the environment and – in the particular case of the bauxite industry, industrial relations.

Cheaper oil

This week’s announcement by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh that fuel prices at GuyOil pumps would have been reduced by Wednesday could have come earlier, though the fact that it has come at all is a blessing for both ordinary consumers and for the business community as a whole.

Gold in 2015

The portents, even this early in the year, suggest that 2015 could be an even tougher year for the gold-mining industry than 2014.

Bright sparks in the manufacturing sector

The Stabroek Business has begun the year by drawing attention to two modest manufacturing entities that have set out to raise standards in a sector that has been performing sluggishly for several years.

Foot-dragging on regional food production

On Saturday last the Stabroek News published a story about a group of potential investors from Trinidad and Tobago who had come to Guyana to scout local lands suitable for large-scale farming initiatives.

The Commissioner General’s missive on corruption

Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Khurshid Sattaur can take no credit for frankness in his letter published in last Monday’s issue of the Stabroek News in which he appears to concede that some of his own officers are guilty of corrupt practices for which they are generously rewarded.

Illicit drugs, counterfeit goods and the fortunes of the private sector

On Friday August 22, 2008, this newspaper published a report based on a disclosure made by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to the effect that it would be taking a tough line against business houses known or believed to be involved in the pedalling of illicit drugs and the marketing of counterfeit goods.

Bourda Market and the flood

Even at the best of times, that is to say during periods when there is no excessive rainfall and no flooding, the status of Bourda Market (and other municipal markets) as a facility in which the business of conducting trade in items of food, including perishables, is highly questionable.

The Food and Drugs Department Complex

Director of the Food and Drugs Department Marlon Cole may have been short on details regarding what he told this newspaper was the planned creation of a new complex to house his department.

Buying local

Two stories published in this issue of the Stabroek Business address the issue of buying local, albeit from different perspectives.

Our creative industries

Earlier this week a sizeable group of Guyanese travelled to Florida to participate in an event that puts on display a range of fashion clothing, craft and agro-processed foods to promote Guyana and locally produced goods to the international community, more particularly in North America.

Being what we eat

Deliberately, one suspects, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, in Guyana Khadija Musa last week took what some might see as an indelicate tilt at a section of the local fast food sector.

Rice in Essequibo

If Essequibo rice farmers are not even close to walking away from an industry that has served them well for decades, there are signs of an increasing awareness of some of the current uncertainties associated with the sector.

The Guyana-T&T land for farming deal

It has been almost two years since a delegation from Trinidad and Tobago headed by that country’s Food Production Minister Devant Maraj came to Guyana and held talks with local officials including Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy about an arrangement that would have seen large tracts of local lands being leased by Trinidad and Tobago farmers for the creation of mega farms, the produce from which was to have been shipped directly to the twin-island Republic.

Food safety standards and export markets

There are some countries in the Caribbean that have responded seriously to the warning signs that have been sent by the United States about ensuring that the foods that it consumes – whether locally produced or imported – meet certain minimum standards.

The Guyana Festival: Getting the right outcomes

Nothing would please this newspaper more than an outcome to this weekend’s Guyana Festival that realizes all of the ambitions of the organizers including those that have to do with showcasing and hopefully finding markets for indigenous food and craft products and having large numbers of Guyanese and visitors to the country enjoy a taste of what the tourism sector has to offer and, better yet, come back next year.

The Guyana Festival and the Tourism Industry

Everything that we have heard about next weekend’s Guyana Festival so far suggests that its primary focus is on trying to create an event that will serve as a kind of seasonal benchmark for visitor arrivals.

Patronising our craft industry

Our local craftspeople, including those from Amerindian communities will doubtless appear in their numbers at the upcoming Guyana Festival at the Providence Stadium and later in the year at GuyExpo at the Sophia Exhibition Site.

Counterfeit goods

A week ago the Stabroek Business ran a front-page story that dealt with the issue of the proliferation of counterfeit consumer goods and drugs on the local market.

Coming to grips with fake consumer goods

It is no secret that Guyana continues to have to deal with the considerable health and economic risks associated with the challenge of counterfeit consumer goods’ imports and our glaringly limited capacity to address the problem.

Business and the environment

One gets the impression too that the environmental delinquency in the business sector is, to an overwhelming extent, a function of its awareness that whether through a lack of capacity or an absence of will, enforcement is largely ineffective.

The Guyana Festival and the Tourism Industry

Everything that we have heard about next weekend’s Guyana Festival so far suggests that its primary focus is on trying to create an event that will serve as a kind of seasonal benchmark for visitor arrivals.

Flooding and business

Whenever it rains with any meaningful level of intensity, the city floods. That is no secret.

Home economists and the economy

Up until now, little if anything has been said in the media here about Guyana’s planned hosting of the Caribbean Association of Home Economists (CAHE) 22nd Biennial Conference in March/April next year.

Finally, food safety legislation?

Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy’s announcement last week about the introduction of draft Food Safety legislation in the National Assembly at its next sitting would have taken many people by surprise.

The Micro and Small Enterprise Development Project must shift gears now

At various times over the past several months this newspaper has reported on the Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) Development and Building Alternative Livelihood for Vulnerable Groups project which is being funded under the environmental partnership between Guyana and Norway and overseen jointly by the Inter-Ameri-can Development Bank and the Government of Guyana.

Selling Guyana’s hospitality product

One of the many pieces missing from Guyana’s tourism jigsaw is how to go about creating a training regime that would allow us to offer an at least acceptable level of service to visitors.

Our self- imposed barrier to exports

It was heartening to hear from the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) earlier this week that a group of Canadian businessmen who had come to Guyana on a mission to check out the prospects of buying local farm produce and agro-processed foods, had expressed the view that what they saw in Guyana would probably meet the expectations of the Canadian market.

Our consumer protection regime sucks

In theory at least, local consumer protection regulations frown on business houses that display ‘goods not returnable’ signs on their shop fronts or stamp such notices on their bills.

Arresting poor service standards in urban eating houses

The proliferation of eating houses of one sort or another around the city has given rise to the need for appreciably heightened levels of vigilance as far as service providers’ attention to issues of safety and health and standards on the whole are concerned.

Higher service sector standards

One of the weaknesses that Guyana will have to overcome if it is to stake a persuasive claim as a tourism destination is the absence of the high service standards which, these days, are increasingly demanded by international travellers.

On the good fortune of food security

For sheer evidence of agricultural bounty and food security in Guyana nothing beats the sight of our municipal markets on busy days with our housewives trading stories on street corners about how “good” the market is and when, to our considerable discredit, what cannot be traded or consumed is dumped on parapets or in canals close to the markets.

Helping the aviation sector to grow

A succession of occurrences, incidents and accidents in the past year or so have placed the spotlight on the aviation sector, which, customarily, would appear to favour getting on with what it has to do in conditions of quiet diligence and placing itself in the public domain only when it becomes necessary to do so.

Tourism: Government must put up or shut up

The current political administration, including President Donald Ramotar, has made some  definitive pronouncements regarding the country’s tourism potential and what is felt to be the contribution tourism can make to providing employment and growing the country’s economy.

The budget projections in the manufacturing sector

In his 2014 budget presentation, Finance Minister Dr.Ashni Singh announced that this year growth in the manufacturing sector was projected  at 7.1 per cent, driven largely by what, in his words was an “anticipated recovery of the sugar industry.” Some commentators have already expressed the view that it is hardly the best of signs that any real growth in the manufacturing sector is likely to hinge largely – if not solely – on the “anticipated recovery” in sugar given the imponderables associated with that projection.

Agro-processing

Today’s national agro-processing event being held at the International Conference Centre, Liliendaal is important for several reasons, perhaps the key one being that it provides a stage on which many small manufacturing enterprises – some, first the first time – can bring their products to the attention of a relatively large potential market.

Rice and PetroCaribe

Issues pertaining to the state of the country’s rice sector and particularly the export sector have arisen in the media over the past few weeks.

The GCCI’s annual Attitudinal Survey

The annual Attitudinal Survey which the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce has undertaken for three consecutive years has its limitations, one of which is that it proffers the opinions of considerably less than a majority of the business houses in Georgetown and its environs.