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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This newspaper has been doing as much as any other section of the media to publicise the manufacturing sector, its challenges and such accomplishments as it has realized.
All sorts of stories have circulated about the practice of offering expired and counterfeit brands of food and drugs for sale on the local market.
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.
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.
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.
In this issue of the Stabroek Business we reported on a visit to Guyana earlier this week by Prism Communications, a Jamaican product promotion company.
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.
The portents, even this early in the year, suggest that 2015 could be an even tougher year for the gold-mining industry than 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two stories published in this issue of the Stabroek Business address the issue of buying local, albeit from different perspectives.
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.
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.
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.
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.