Trade links, businesses forged at Suriname expo By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
November 6, 2003

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SEVERAL Guyanese businesses that participated in a recent trade and investment exposition in Suriname have lauded the initiative by the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-INVEST) and the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), indicating that the exhibition was very successful, especially in creating and forging trade linkages with businesses in Suriname in a variety of areas.

Chief Executive Officer of GO-INVEST, Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva, said some 26 companies/businesses in Guyana participated in the exposition, which was held from October 24 to 26 in neighbouring Suriname. He told a news conference at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House) in Kingston, Georgetown, yesterday that in addition to these 26 companies, the GMC facilitated the display of products at the exposition by another 20 smaller companies.

"The idea of having a trade and investment exposition in Suriname has been under discussions for a number of years and in our work plan for this year the Guyana Office for Investment, which has a mandate to work with the private sector to encourage more exports, decided to go to Suriname this year," Da Silva said.

According to him, this was done in cooperation with the Guyana embassy in Paramaribo, Suriname, and excellent support from several organizations within the Surinamese private sector.

Da Silva also pointed out that "Guyana, as a country with such a small population and a relatively small market for our companies to grow, we have to be getting out there and doing more exports in the non-traditional areas".

He also indicated that from all reports from Guyanese living in Suriname for the past 40 years, this is the first time that something like this ever occurred where Guyanese companies went there and put on their own exhibitions/exposition.

"The main purpose of the exposition was to showcase our products and improve relations between our two peoples (Guyanese and Surinamese)," Da Silva posited.

Representatives of Guyanese companies that participated in the exposition were also present at yesterday's news conference and spoke on the business their company generated and the follow-up activities, which include the organizing of a Suriname/Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition in Guyana in early 2004.

Mr. Winston Lawrence of DIDCO Trading Company said the Trade and Investment Exhibition in Suriname provided DIDCO with an opportunity of meeting businessmen in Suriname who showed keen interest in distributing our products in that neighbouring country. "We had several meetings with these businessmen and they are very much interested in distributing DIDCO's poultry feed and our chickens in Suriname. So I think it was a wonderful opportunity for my company to be represented at that forum and we are working on making our contacts a reality and having DIDCO's poultry feed on the market in Suriname in the not too distant future."

Mr. David Gomes, representing Banks DIH Limited, thanked GO-INVEST for the "excellent opportunity" afforded the business community in Guyana and for the tremendous energy that was put into the initiative. "I would like to thank all the members of GO-INVEST who put more than their best feet forward to give us this opportunity. We were able to meet with a few distributors who are comfortable with the products we offer and we hoped that within the next few weeks, through the ongoing negotiations, to conclude a few of these and hopefully within the next month we would be making some shipments to Suriname."

Among those who were present at yesterday's news conference were Mr. Deo Singh of Edward Beharry and Company Ltd., Ms. Sonia Noel of Mariska's Designs, Mr. Mohan Harnanan of Continental Group of Companies, Mr. Azad Ibrahim of Industrial Supply of Guyana, Mr. Afzal Khan of Gafsons Industries, Mr. Lionel Kandasammy of ROMA Manufacturing Company, Mr. Richard Winter of Arawak Leather Craft, Mr. Nizam Hassan of the Guyana Marketing Corporation and Mr. Troy Pearson of GO-INVEST.