Tourism Minister: Maintain clean city momentum
May 4, 2007
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad is urging that the momentum started for Cricket World Cup in cleaning up Georgetown be sustained so that there can be a return to the glory days of it being the Garden City of the Caribbean.
Prashad, delivering the main address at the Annual General Meeting of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) held at its Waterloo Street headquarters on Mon-day, said that the city has been returning to a clean state.
"We have seen cleanliness in the city but this must be continuous," he said, adding that tourists are once again coming to the country. "People are seeing for themselves what is in our country," he said, damning the nay-sayers.
He also asked the foreign missions in Guyana to review their practice of sending out hasty travel advisories whenever something happens in Guyana since it affects tourism. "We've seen im-provements in the country's security," he said.
Turning to the business of the GCCI, Prashad, a past President of the Chamber, said that the GCCI is taking its rightful place in Guyana. He said that after a period in Guyana when the private sector was marginalised, the Economic Recovery Programme led to the re-emergence of the organisation and others like it and the formation of additional ones. He said: "I am very happy with the work of the GCCI and all the other chambers. Guyana is on the move and there is no turning back."
He said that people are coming to Guyana in record numbers and events like Mashramani are becoming calendar events. "Our hotel rooms are way superior to those in Barbados, save for one or two top hotels there," he said. "As we prepare for visitors we have to have shows and events to keep people here in Guyana."
He said that Guyana is fast becoming known for bird-watching and yachting and he noted that Bartica will be a place yachters will come to know through an international publication that makes mention of this country's yachting potential. According to Prashad, Guyana is being compared to Peru in terms of bird-watching.
He also mentioned that as a testament to the economy in Guyana picking up, Barba-dians and Trinidadians are buying up properties more than before.
Outgoing President of the Chamber Captain Gerry Gouveia said that he is leaving the post with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that he has carried the leadership with the support of colleagues.
"Central to our work at the Chamber is the relationship with the Government which is desirable and necessary," he said. But he added that this relationship has not been an amicable one, citing the introduction of Value-Added Tax as one of the sore points between the Chamber and Government.
He said that the real value of the relationship lies in the mutual acceptance of GCCI's role in the country. "I encourage the Chamber and its members to play a more active role in public life," he urged, adding that he gets the impression that the business community is perceived as selfish. "We cannot exist in isolation," he said.
Gouveia said that the construction of buildings, hotels and investment in telecommunication point to the growing confidence in Guyana's economy. He urged too that the Linden-Lethem road be completed since the economic benefits will be limitless. He said that the Chamber needs to continue its engagement with the Private Sector Commission and the Guyana Revenue Authority on a number of issues and also to work closely with the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce.