The Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCCI) at its Second Annual Appreciation Dinner last Saturday at the Countryside Restaurant on the Corentyne, hosted the Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname to the Republic of Guyana, Manorma Soeknandan.
The ambassador was also the guest speaker at the event.
Ambassador Soeknandan commented on the history and the future of the two countries. She encouraged businessmen to diversify and look at opportunities for cooperation with businesses in Nickerie.
This, she said, would allow for businesses to grow beyond the limited reach of the very common sole proprietorships which are in abundance in both regions.
She also highlighted several issues which need to be rectified in order to move in the right direction. These included closer collaboration between educational institutions so as to remove the language barrier.
Another was optimized use of the Canawaima Ferry Service.
The dinner was chaired by executive member Ganesh Gangadin. The instrumental versions of both the Guyanese and Surinamese National Anthems were played.
President of the UCCCI, Vishnu Doerga highlighted the progress made by the chamber over the past year which included the significant increase in membership, the focus on members’ exposure at foreign trade fairs and the drive in capacity building.
“At the executive level we are very pleased to have been able to participate last November with 17 businesses in the Entrepreneurial Trade Fair in Boa Vista, Brazil. Just last month we sent nine members to the Trinidad Trade and Investment Convention.
“We have already made contact with the Suriname Chamber of Commerce regarding their largest yearly trade fair coming up in November and have started receiving information on this event,” he noted.
Special thanks were reserved for the USAID-Governance Enhancement Project for the support in arranging specialized training in the most pertinent fields.
“We are awaiting a decision by USAID on several submitted projects which, if approved, will greatly strengthen our operational abilities and create more awareness about pressing issues such as promoting a cleaner beach which by the way is one of our only tourist attractions and the indiscipline in the schools from which we all draw our workforce,” Doerga said.
Mr. Doerga also alluded to the importance of improved cross-border relations as it relates to the development of both regions.
He assured the ambassador that with the UCCCI being the first point of contact with Suriname that the UCCCI would be a capable and willing partner for progress.
“We have the largely untapped advantage of being a border town with Suriname and I am sure this goes both ways. We would regularly hear the negative issues regarding the border without workable solutions to these.
“We have seen from our fellow ARCC member, the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also located in the border town of Lethem, the possibilities that exist when all the avenues for trade, tourism and industry are optimized,” he said.
He added that the citizens and business community of both bordering regions are the primary beneficiaries of any positive developments and that the RCCI had a significant input into this progress.
Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to Ahmad Sultan Rozan for his valuable contributions to the community and Magistrate Krishendat Persaud for his long service to the Chamber. The Vice President Krishnand Jaichand and executive member Kumar Dudnath respectively elaborated on the many achievements and contributions of the awardees.
Executive member Imran Badruddin, Manager of Demerara Bank Ltd delivered the Vote of Thanks.
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