Unreliable power affecting Banks' Berbice sales
- Reis
New outlet for Corentyne

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
April 11, 2000

Chairman of Banks DIH Ltd, Clifford Reis has expressed concern over the unreliable and unstable supply of electricity in Berbice which he says continues to hamper the company's efforts to increase its sales of malta, beer, soft drinks and ice-cream.

Reis was at the time addressing shareholders at the company's forty-fourth annual meeting and the fifth to be held in Berbice at the company's Peter D'Aguiar Street, branch in New Amsterdam recently. "If the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) is unable to fulfil this requirement because of their constraints, then an agreement should be reached for another company to sell electricity to the region. We have waited too long and we cannot wait any longer," Reis declared to loud applause from the estimated 300 shareholders and special invitees present.

The sprawling New Amsterdam branch compound which spills across the street was transformed overnight into a colourful meeting place covered by three huge tents. Traffic from the eastern end of the street was blocked by dozens of beverage cases stacked several feet into the area. Speaking to shareholders about plans for the region, the chairman disclosed that a new branch would be completed and operational before the end of the next financial year or by the middle of 2001 to serve the Corentyne coast and Crabwood Creek.

Reis was loud in his praise for the staff of the New Amsterdam branch for their performance and achievement over the past financial year.

The branch increased its sales over the previous year (1997-98) by $169 million, recording a total of $1,090 million for the last financial year (1998-1999), representing a profit of 7.2% with a reduced staff. New Amsterdam Quik Serv also recorded a $10 million increase over the previous year with $49 million in sales.

Referring to the incomplete 'Christmas in April' bus terminus on Matthew Allen Road, which has become an eye-sore in New Amsterdam, Reis said: "As chairman, I am embarrassed because this project is not completed and is going at such a slow rate. However, there have been constraints including limited funds. The project stands out as a Banks DIH project and we are committed to its completion. It is not good for the company to start a project with shareholders' funds and for it to be left half-way."

Manager of the New Amsterdam branch, Reginald Matthews, in brief remarks, disclosed that over the latter half of the financial year the branch expanded its activities to neighbouring Suriname securing some $15 million in sales. However, he said that a major setback was the exorbitant freight charges imposed on the company's trucks crossing the Corentyne River by boat.

Matthews issued a call for the situation to be addressed since it was affecting the company's efforts to expand into the Suriname market. "I hope something can be done to alleviate the situation," he said. Invitees and shareholders were later treated to music by the company's steel orchestra, gifts and refreshments compliments of Banks DIH.