– Investment Minister
The Sophia Exhibition Centre came alive last evening as hundreds braved a brief period of inclement weather to get a glimpse of Guyana’s diverse heritage, tradition and business potential, as the Government’s premier annual trade fair and exposition – GuyExpo – commenced.
GuyExpo 2016 will conclude on Sunday.
With approximately 260 booths set up at the centre, participants got a chance to take a glance at an abundance of creativity and production capabilities.
While many repeat-exhibitors dominated the expo, a few newcomers were seen setting up shop. Many exhibitors travelled long distances to be present however; their aim being more than to just make a “quick buck”. A fair number of them seized the opportunity to expand their reach to other entities and to attract potential partners and sponsors.
The Guyana Police Force Steel band and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry/Buxton Steel Orchestra took turns to wow the audience with renditions of popular folk and contemporary tunes and rhythms.
Recording Guyanese artistes, Poonam Singh and Lisa Punch with their high notes and overall excellent vocal control, also had their fair share in entertaining the gathering.
Among the distinguished gathering were President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Business and Investment, Dominic Gaskin, other Ministers of Government, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vishnu Doerga; Business operatives both local and international; and several foreign dignitaries and stakeholders. First Lady cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the event.
A SUCCESSFUL EVENT DOES NOT COME CHEAP
Minister Gaskin said that making GuyExpo a successful event does not come cheap.
He explained that dozens of contractors need to be engaged to provide various services, supplies and extensive work that form the final product—and there is a hefty price tag attached to this.
According to the Minister, this year’s GuyExpo provides a baseline for which Government must progressively developed an economy that in 10 years’ time, while still growing, will be the envy of other regions.
“Think what GuyExpo will look like in 10 years’ time, if we can turn it into a regionally well-regarded, eagerly anticipated annual match-making opportunity,” Gaskin posited.
If all goes well, there will be businesses from all over the world showing up and lining up to see and to place orders and to purchase top quality products at future events.
“Let’s be pragmatic about GuyExpo itself. In order for an event to be truly developed, it needs to have both local and foreign participation,” the Minister said.
He added that the event needs to become a much more foreign affairs.
“It must attract foreign exhibitors and it must attract foreign buyers. Our slogan, ‘Guyana needs businesses,’ will have to be embodied in GuyExpo over the coming years and this event must become a launch pad for businesses seeking access to both local and foreign markets.”
GuyExpo 2016 is more than just an event—it is the country’s 50th anniversary.
“As a nation we have a lot that we can be proud of we have a beautiful country, we have a great national wealth and we enjoy a reasonability good natured accommodation of ethnic, political and religious diversity that many other nations failed to achieve,” Gaskin related.
He further added that, “when it comes to our economy I believe that had we known back in 1966 that 50 years later we would be where we are today, perhaps we would have planned things differently, because we have not become the dynamic, enterprising and regional powerhouse that we ought to have been after 50 years in the business of self-determination.”
President Granger during his feature address emphasised on the importance of Guyana achieving a green economy. The president said that all stakeholders have their part to play in breaking Guyana’s addiction to fossil fuels. He said this against the backdrop of Guyana expending nearly 25% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for petroleum-based products in 2012.
The president continued that Guyana needs a green development strategy, which is his task. His ultimate mission, he emphasised, is to build a green economy.
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