By Mondale Smith
The sounds of hammering, sawing and sweeping reverberated at the Sophia Exhibition site and at some locations the scent of fresh paint permeated the air.
There were works moving apace to complete preparations for the nation’s main trade fair yesterday.
At first glance there seemed much work left to be done. But not so, say officials of the GuyExpo 2009 committee.
They told Kaieteur News that the main logistical works are complete and the site is eighty percent ready to welcome even more than the 70,000 patrons over a six-day period. Dubbed, “possibly the largest trade fair in Guyana” the event is slated for staging from October 1 to October 6, under the theme “Promoting Business in a low carbon environment.”
Nadia Guyadeen, Deputy Administrator, National Exhibition Centre in correspondence states that the event provides a platform for local and international businesses including importers, exporters, retailers and wholesalers with the aim to fuse a cross section of producers of handicraft, furniture, garments, jewellery, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, tourism, information technology and specs of the Guyanese culture. It also provides opportunities for businesses to increase their competitiveness, efficiencies, foster growth and creates an atmosphere for networking.
Yesterday, Kaieteur News visited the Sophia location and witnessed builders, painters and interior decorators applying the finishing touches on some booths while for the most part others were simply complete but void of any color.
There was no sign of any elaborate tunnel to create the ambience of a forest as was the case at the last GuyExpo but at the roundabout island that normally showcases the top prize up for grabs, there were some men working to erect a signage and what looked like a giant painted tree atop a painting of the world.
Undertaken as a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce in collaboration with GOINVEST and the Private Sector; it includes exhibitors, franchise holders, game operators and entertainers playing major roles in the overall success of the event.
Guyadeen, the Deputy Administrator of the Exhibition Centre, said that there are more than 250 new international type booths set up and ready to serve patrons to the mega event under the theme “promoting business in a low carbon environment.”
She said, too, that in addition to the many exhibits, local artistes will also have their chance to shine and showcase their talents through the many nightly cultural shows sponsored by GT&T, Digicel, Ansa McAl, DDL and Banks DIH while the last show will be sponsored by Hits and Jams.
However, from observation, while all of the prefabricated booths were already up, most were without any decorations or pictorials or even signage but several exhibitors were seen busying themselves in the compound.
Notable was the military tent that seemed ready to share its offerings to whosoever may visit. Tomorrow the event is billed to be declared officially open by President Bharrat Jagdeo who will deliver his feature address amidst a rich cultural presentation to mark this occasion. Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Manniram Prashad yesterday said that all will be ready by then.
At the site he told Kaieteur News, “We are about 80 percent complete. This includes the fact that all internal infrastructural works, the stage and most of the external works.”
The Guyexpo Planning Committee and Secretariat, under the stewardship of the Minister Manniram Prashad, and Co-Chairman Deryck Cummings, established a plan of action which they believe will result in Guyexpo 2009 being one of the best ever.
Meanwhile if GuyExpo is to be judged by the turn out and contributions made at the just concluded Business and Trade seminar, it may be safe to conclude that the six nights of showcases and displays will not lack variety.
Last Monday, almost 300 exhibitors, the largest turnout ever, attended the seminar at which the Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister met with exhibitors billed to participate in Guy-Expo 2009 in the Main Auditorium at the National Exhibition Centre, Sophia.
The GuyExpo committee says that this is an indication of the huge public/private sector participation anticipated for Guy-Expo 2009 exhibitors and investors alike have indicated satisfaction and commitment to this national event.
Minister Prashad expressed contentment with the overwhelming participation and special interest shown by the attendees. He told them that their turnout is viewed as their preparedness and confidence in Guyana’s economy.
Guyana’s largest Trade and Investment Exposition – GuyExpo started nine years ago as a biennial event hosted by the Guyana Office for Investment (GOINVEST), the Guyana Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce.
However, this year there was no financing from Government.
To ensure that patrons have a totally safe experience the GuyExpo committee is advising the general public that anyone found with firearms and/or offensive weapons such as knives, ice-picks, etc will be prosecuted according to the law.
The committee noted that vehicles will be subjected to searches and patrons will have to undergo security checks. The advice is that patrons purchase tickets from GuyExpo ticket booths only. The committee has issued a warning for them to “beware of touts selling bogus tickets”.
Anyone found reselling GuyExpo 2009 tickets “will be arrested and prosecuted.”
Additionally, those patrons seeking car park tickets can access these for $1000 each.
GuyExpo showcases locally produced goods and services and became annual in 2004 as the longest sustained exhibition in the Caribbean. Noting the growth and interdependence of international trade, organizers in 2004 opened the exhibition to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other regional exhibitor participation.
The last GuyExpo in 2007 attracted more than 70,000 patrons, in addition to special invitees and guests. It also attracted more than 300 exhibitors, consisting of both local and overseas participants that displayed a range of products, craft and services. For the show exhibitors were drawn from Barbados, India, China, Brazil and Jamaica among other countries.
GuyExpo takes a permanent place on the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce’s Annual National Calendar of Events and was originally held in July. It shifted to August and later to September but this year it is slated for October.
This premier exposition and trade fair offers business associates a chance to meet, network and negotiate with international companies and establishments, as well as showcase their skills, talents and creative works.
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