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.


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.

Looking after our small and micro businesses

Evidence of the emergence of an increasing number of micro and small business initiatives in recent years has raised questions about the longer-term future of the small business sector as a whole.

Security and the business sector

At this very moment we are living in one of those now familiar cycles of violence that targets the business community; violence that is sudden and frightening and which leaves even those of us who are not its actual victims chastened.

Exploiting Mash

One of the more forgettable memories of our annual Mashramani celebrations is the utterly deplorable state in which the streets, walkways, and canals are left once the revellers have come and gone.

Public disclosure over anomalies in the aviation sector

Part of the problem, which we continue to highlight, in bringing deficiencies in areas of public sector service delivery into the public domain and seeking to have those deficiencies corrected, has to do with the disinclination of public officials to ‘come clean’ on issues that are officially deemed to be sensitive.

Municipal markets

This newspaper’s coverage of business issues over the past year or so has included extensive chronicling of the role that municipal markets play in the broader national commercial culture.

The Food Court accident and the Ministry of Labour

Time and again in recent years the point has been made publicly that the significant increase in the construction of large buildings in various parts of the country ought to be more than sufficient cause for us to shine a more prominent spotlight on the issue of safety and health in the building sector.

Poisoned chalice?

In a recent interview with this publication, Guyanese-born academic and security specialist Dr Ivelaw Griffith spoke at length on regional security issues, including those which he considered to be the key threats to the safety of the Caribbean and ways in which the region might act collectively to help reduce its vulnerabilities in this sector.

An incurable disease?

As evidence of the approaching Christmas holidays becomes more apparent, the signs of increased commercial activity manifest themselves in a heightened appetite for the profligate disposal of garbage in the commercial capital.

A reminder of the way we live

There was something ironic about the late night/early morning deluge that brought business in Georgetown to a near crippling halt on Wednesday.

The Georgetown Chamber, fires and the commercial capital

While the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to be commended for the unfailing focus on fire prevention in its promotional and public relations initiatives that target mostly the urban business community, one wonders just how much impact its efforts are having and, indeed, whether those efforts are attracting the attention of what one might call critical audiences.

Accounting for public funds: What the Auditor General is finding

This newspaper has grown accustomed to revelations contained in the Reports of the Auditor General, some, indeed many of which set out with considerable clarity the cavalier manner in which public funds are spent and the absence of accountability that attends the process.

Disturbing tradeoffs?

The Government of Guyana has signed on to a complex agreement with the Government of Norway under which Guyana is to receive from Norway significant sums of money, in fact, tens of millions of US dollars, based on verifiable evidence of Guyana’s  preservation of its rainforests.

Still no official disclosure on the land-for-farming deal

After many weeks of silence on the land-for-farming deal between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, crystallized in a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year, Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy still appears disinclined to make the details public.

The GMSA must engage government on manufacturing sector’s headaches

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) published a relatively brief but insightful assessment of the condition of the manufacturing sector which dealt in large measure with some of the critical impediments to its growth; also included were the GMSA’s views on how the challenges facing the sector can be addressed.

Dr Fletcher-Paul, regional food security and the cassava competition

In the same interview during which she told us she believed Caribbean governments were displaying evidence of a greater sense of urgency as far as the food security of the region is concerned, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Resident Representative Dr Lystra Fletcher-Paul conceded that the pace of change was, perhaps, not matching the urgency of the situation.

GuyExpo: not all good, but not all bad

For all the vigorous and, frankly, fanciful and far-fetched efforts of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) to sell GuyExpo XV as a flawless success, it is patently obvious that nothing can be further from the truth.

Slipping off the shackles of political correctness?

Much of what Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Clinton Urling had to say last weekend in his address at a Chamber dinner held to mark the launch of its 2013 Business Directory had to do with crime, its impact on the business community and what could or should be done to address the problem.

Still in the dark on the land-for- farming issue

There can now be no doubt that the realization of the Guyana/Trinidad and Tobago land-for farming deal reached a few weeks ago by the two governments may well be in some measure of doubt.