Berbice business chambers encouraged by meetings

Guyana Chronicle
August 7, 2001

THE Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA) and the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCCI) are encouraged by the meetings they had over the weekend with Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Mr. Manzoor Nadir.

In a joint statement, the two chambers said Nadir brought to the weekend meetings the fresh air that accompanied former Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva - a commitment to talk about development, to discuss issues raised by the chambers and to drive for concrete progress while minimising talk of party and partisan politics.

The chambers said they were encouraged by Nadir's candor and openness and his ability to focus on the issues at hand.

The BCCDA and the UCCCI pledged to work with the minister and his team to produce measurable results.

Nadir and a team travelled to Skeldon last Friday where they met executives of the UCCCI and on Saturday had a meeting with the BCCDA.

The joint statement pointed out that the meeting with the UCCCI zeroed in on three longstanding goals of the chamber -- tourism development of the No. 63 Beach, facilitating movement of people and goods to and from Upper Corentyne by removing large farm animals from roadways and working to develop tourism on the upper stretches of the Corentyne River.

Nadir and his team, including Regional Chairman, Mr. Rohit Persaud were led on a tour of No. 63 Beach by the UCCCI members, including Magistrate Krishnadat Persaud, a key member on the chamber, with respect to its initiative to push development of the beach.

According to the statement, a garbage-strewn beach greeted the visitors.

Both Chamber President, Mr. Kumar Dudnauth and Nadir expressed deep frustration at the abuse of the beach by firms and individuals.

The statement said they agreed to work together to begin developing this uniquely beautiful stretch of warm water and wide, sandy beaches into a litter free place of family fun and recreation.

The overall goal is to create a competitive, well-maintained tourist attraction with easy access, proper sanitation, safety patrols and activities related to water sports.

With respect to animals clogging the roadways, the statement said Nadir told the UCCCI he was in possession of its position paper.

He offered to pass on to Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj the extra copies that UCCCI prepared.

UCCCI reported it has also on several occasions raised these development-inhibiting factors with the Government and cannot understand why the Government has not responded.

On tourism development on the Upper Corentyne, the statement said Nadir asked for detailed plans that would enable his ministry to respond in concrete ways.

It said too that the minister accepted UCCCI's proposal on establishing a widely based community and government committee to begin developing No. 63 Beach.

According to the chambers, Nadir said he would begin within two weeks circulating among the government members, concepts dealing with a committee for development of No. 63 beach.

He said too that he and UCCCI should have a committee by the end of this month.

Saturday's meetings with the BCCDA also led to positive interchange and progress with respect to several issues.

The statement said that the number one issue on the BCCDA agenda, according to President, Mr. Ramesh Maraj, is getting the industrial site developed, marketed and filled with new businesses that will provide more income for the area's families.

It added that Mr. Ramdial Bhookmohan, past President and long-time member of the Association of Regional Chambers of Commerce (ARCC), which represents nearly 400 firms, addressed the BCCDA members and Minister Nadir about the linkage of industrial sites with Guyana's access to the 240 million consumers in the South American economic grouping Mercosur.

That linkage, a longstanding objective of ARCC, is fast approaching,

Bhookmohan noted that access to Mercusor would interest foreign firms in investing in manufacturing opportunities in Guyana.

The statement said the BCCDA also wants to work with Nadir and his ministry's team on promoting consumption of local goods by encouraging local competitiveness.

Nadir responded positively to BCCDA's request, common not only to the UCCCI, but to all the other regional chambers belonging to the ARCC, that BCCDA members have an opportunity to participate on committees and organisations of regional government to boost transparency and private-sector involvement.

It was understood that Regional Chairman Persaud will make available to the chambers lists, purposes and membership of all committees associated with regional government.