Yesu Persaud takes fact-finding development mission to Rupununi

Guyana Chronicle
May 9, 2003

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THE Chairman, Mr. Yesu Persaud recently led a team, from Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Demerara Bank and Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), on a one-day fact-finding visit to Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).

The group was invited by the Regional Chairman, Mr. Vincent Henry, who wants, among other things, a commercial bank to establish a branch in Rupununi, to satisfy the banking needs of the 20,000 population and provide loans for the development of small, medium and large scale enterprises and expansion of existing ones.

During discussions with the Georgetown-based visitors, Henry apprised them of current and future business prospects, including that the Region is about to launch a massive agricultural development programme which was developed in Rupununi by stakeholders, with assistance from different agencies.

Henry said the main aim of the scheme is to achieve food sufficiency and security and generate income for residents to improve their lifestyle.

The plan is to intensify planting of traditional and non-traditional crops, revive the cattle industry and put more emphasis on other livestock rearing, especially sheep, introduce aquaculture farming, exploit forest resources such as wild honey and herbs that have medicinal value and enhance handicraft production.

Henry said Region Nine has the potential to produce 500,000 pounds of peanut annually and should double the volume this year.

He said, now that the ban has been lifted on beef shipments from Rupununi, ranchers have to search for markets.

Henry explained that, when completed, the bridge linking Guyana and Brazil, across Takutu River, will make Lethem the gateway for more trade between the two countries and the rest of South America.

But, although large scale informal transactions are being done by Guyanese and Brazilians, Region Nine business people are experiencing problems to move large amounts of cash between Georgetown and Lethem.

While there is a money transfer service at Lethem, the capacity is limited and that situation does not facilitate the cashing of cheques issued by any other entity but Bank of Guyana.

Persaud said DDL is of the opinion it could help transform the Region into one the most prosperous in the country, as the company is involved in a wide range of activities which can also serve the Brazilian border trade.

He said IPED, too, can assist with loans to micro and small businesses and Demerara Bank could offer banking services.

Persaud said Diamond Fire and General Insurance Company can offer coverage and he promised he and his colleagues would revisit Rupununi.

Others with Persaud were Executive Director of IPED, Dr Leslie Chin; Chief Executive Officer of Demerara Bank, Mr. B. Dave; Company Secretary, Ms Romona Vansluytman, Project Engineer, Mr. Mahendra Kanhai; Manager, Distribution Services, Mrs. Sharda Veeren-Chand; Manager, Diamond Fire and General Insurance, Ms Tara Chandra; Board Director, Mr. Chandraballi Peshawar and Chairman of Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Mohamed Khan.

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