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Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad must integrate and turn to Latin America- Fmr. PM Panday

Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday addressing the GMSA’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday Thursday night endorsed calls for his country, Guyana and Suriname forge closer trade relations among and target Latin America because the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) was on the brink of collapse.

“My advice would be to consider this suggestion that Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname may well find it beneficial to integrate their own economies more deeply and to jointly pursue arrangements with Brazil, Venezuela and other Latin American countries

“This is a very interesting suggestion. It should be seriously pursued not only because I like it very much. I have always maintained that the destiny of Trinidad and Tobago is continental, not Caribbean,” he said.

Panday reasoned that the prospects are bleak for any of the 12 other member states has means to financially stimulate their economies and stem their rates of unemployment.

He was at the time addressing the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA) Awards and Dinner, Panday berated Caricom just days before regional leaders meet in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their 25th mid-term summit.

While he pointed to grave trade imbalance among member states, a huge import bill and transportation problems; he stopped short of saying that the regional bloc was unsuccessful. “It would be unfair to say that the integration movement has been a total failure. However, some of the goals have been more successful than others and some benefitted more than others,” he said in an address whose theme was “Perspectives for the Future of the Caribbean Economic Integration- Challenges and Opportunities”.

Panday produced figures on imports and exports as a region and between the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and More Developed Countries (MDCs) as well as individual countries like Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.

“What these figures reveal is that the benefits of integration have been very one-sided but the worst that have come out of these were the LDCs,” he said.  Panday also lamented that Caricom has failed to deal with the issue of unequal development in the region but mainly among the disadvantaged LDCs. “There has been an almost total failure to help one another develop their economies,” he said.

Among the humbugs, he said, was the decades-old problems of inadequate transportation to serve the member-states that are mostly scattered across the Caribbean Sea. “The several attempts to deal with the problem of transport have by and large failed. The absence of contiguity and the problem of transport contribute to that problem of decision-making,” he said.

The former Trinidad and Tobago leader urged the Caribbean to overcome the hurdle of lack of implementation of decisions. “There is need for the establishment of serious mechanisms and procedures for the enforcement of decisions. The view has been expressed that the misunderstood concept of sovereignty and the ambition of some leaders contribute to the problem of implementation,” he said.

Touching on the viability of Caricom in the global economy, he said economic integration through the Single Market and Economy needed to tighten the “loose” Common External Tariff and intra-regional trade policy, integration of labour and capital markets, deepen functional cooperation and improve efficiency in the delivery of public services.

He also observed the absence of accurate, comparable, reliable and timely statistics to inform Caricom’s decision-making.

Following are the citations for the several awards that were presented at the GMSA’s Dinner:

PRITIPAUL SINGH INVESTMENTS INCORPORATED

The Founder and Managing Director of this company, Pritipaul Singh, had dabbled in quite a few enterprises before he began to his sole tradership in sea foods in 1991. By 1997 he was the owner of 11 steel hull trawlers. Three years later he incorporated his company as a limited liability enterprise with a processing facility at the McDoom waterfront, EBD trading under the moniker “Mid Atlantic Sea Foods”.

In 2005 this agro food processor acquired the facilities of the defunct Georgetown Seafoods and Trading Company at Providence, and has since been marketing the products from this second complex under the label “BEE GEE”.

Together, the two plants employ between 1500 and 2000 skilled and unskilled labour recruited mostly from rural neighbourhoods. The marketing skills of Mr. Singh and his loyal executive team have put their sea food products in markets all across the Caribbean, in North America and Europe.

The GMSA has long been impressed by the dogged approach this deserving company takes to processing their sea foods and penetrating markets around the world.

CARIBBEAN CONTAINERS INCORPORATED (CCI)

Caribbean Containers Incorporated (CCI) is being recognized for its significant contributions to the Environment in Guyana.  Some years ago, CCI embraced good environmental practices not only in its operations and surroundings, but for its products as well.  In an era when recycling is the favorite buzzword, CCI has been making tremendous strides in the production of corrugated cartons and paper out of recycled materials.

CCI is Guyana’s only manufacturer of packaging materials so it should be enjoying the benefits of holding the corner of this market.  However, the company has found itself in direct competition with non-environmentally friendly imports.  It is remarkable that the company has been able to sustain its thrust towards a greener Guyana, and to expand its markets internally and overseas. 
               
Plaque – In recognition of CCI’s contributions to sustained waste recycling for a greener environment.

GUYANA TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH COMPANY LTD.

Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Co. Ltd., against great odds, has managed to continue its growth trajectory towards bringing Guyana and Guyanese abreast with the world of advanced technology.  In 2013 GT&T introduced its Mobile Money Service, a small step but incredibly convenient to its subscribers who are now able to purchase cell phone credit, pay utility bills, as well as send and receive money transfers right from their cellular phones.  It goes without saying that these tasks could be accomplished from anywhere at any time.

GT&T’s determination to make a significant impact on the domestic market is unquestionable, and the company is being recognized this evening specifically for its relentless efforts to improve its services across Guyana.   

Plaque: In recognition of your relentless pursuit of improved technologies that positively influence the conduct of business.

BRASS ALUMINUM & CAST IRON FOUNDRY (BACIF)

The main business of the Brass, Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry is production of engineering castings of any size for industries and infrastructure.  In 2013, BACIF manufactured for the National Bureau of Standards 48 units of MASSES to be used for calibrating industrial scales around the country.  We’ve learnt that this is the second time that BACIF has produced these facilities for the GNBS, and that it is the only foundry in the Caribbean to have accomplished such a feat.

At the same time, BACIF has maintained its Jamaican clientele and last year manufactured two of the largest, most complex Crystalliser Worm Gears for Jamaica’s sugar industry. 

BACIF’s 2014 GMSA award is for its innovativeness and for sustaining its Caribbean market share for specialized metallic products.   

Plaque:  In recognition of your innovativeness with production of metallic products, and sustaining markets within the ambit of the CSME

AIR SERVICES LIMITED (ASL)

With over fifty (50) years’ experience in the domestic aviation industry, Air Services Limited currently operates a fleet of 23 aircraft of six different types, and one helicopter, all flown across the length and breadth of Guyana by a flight crew of twenty-four (24) experienced pilots.  What is remarkable is that ASL continues to operate and upgrade its own flight school that is ranked among the best aviation training facilities in South America and the Caribbean.  Their graduates now work as line pilots with local and foreign airlines, and one from the Class of 2006 is the Chief Pilot for the Guyana Defense Force.

ASL has put flights into the remotest areas, and was able to reduce fare prices through backward integration – they have established their own fuel farm at Ogle.  This airline continues to fulfill a critical need in the air-transport sub-sector, and has impacted positively on the Tourism, Forestry and Mining sectors.

Plaque: In recognition of your drive to develop the Aviation Sector which has impacted positively on Tourism, Forestry and Mining.

TCL GUYANA INC.

TCL Guyana has been promoting the use of cement in the construction of roads which they have proven to be more durable with a substantially lower life cycle cost.  Recently, the company partnered with the Ministry of Public Works and applied the soil cement stabilization technique to a section of Water St.  This is their pilot project to demonstrate the resilience of the new cement-based technology on a road that is traversed constantly by heavy vehicles.

This project is also an excellent example of a Public-Private Partnership.  It will cement TGI’s reputation (the pun IS intended) as the most reliable supplier of quality cement to the Guyanese market.  TGI is intent on demonstrating the results of its extensive research and development, and partnering with both public and private entities.

Plaque:  In recognition of your contribution to infrastructural development in Guyana.

GAFSONS INDUSTRIES LTD.

Gafoors, the parent company of Gafsons Industries, is one of just a few industrial manufacturers that have maintained an indelible presence on the manufacturing landscape in Guyana.  After more than 60 years, this mega industrialist has retained its reputation for being a dependable supplier of quality hardware, light and heavy construction materials, clothing, footwear and household haberdasheries.  Gafsons is the undisputed leader of this sector.  Their customer base is large and includes clientele of the Rosehall, Corentyne and Parika branches, the Charlestown outlet and the Houston multiplex. 

Gafsons Industries has to be recognized for continuously investing in manufacturing materials, for constantly upgrading its inventory and range of products, making it a boon for builders and contractors across the length and breadth of Guyana.  This good old company is being awarded this evening for continually investing in the manufacture of building materials and accessories of very high standard. 

Plaque:   For continuous investments in extending the range of building materials and maintaining high standards in manufacturing for more than 60 years.

EMPRETEC AWARD

Dutch Bottle Café

Plaque: “For exemplifying the spirit of entrepreneurship through persistence and commitment resulting in continued business balance”

MINISTRY OF TOURISM, INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE

This Ministry has been particularly proactive in recent times.  Their interventions have added a definite fillip to the Engineering and Construction Sub-Sector and to Commercial entrepreneurship.  The main vehicles they have used are the International Building Expo that was first launched in 2010, and the National Trade and Investment Exposition commonly known as GuyExpo.  Without doubt, the Building Expo has been molded into an innovative mechanism that has accelerated entrepreneurship in the Building, Construction, Manufacturing, Services and Commercial milieux. 

We are recognizing the Ministry particularly for facilitating a direct partnership with us to co-ordinate and execute GuyExpo 2013.  The GMSA successfully executed the GuyExpo Business Development Forum and we intend to retain it as a catalyst of growth for the Manufacturing and Services sectors. 

The private sector generally, and the GMSA’s members in particular, continue to reap benefits from the International Building Expo and from GuyExpo, specimens of true public/private partnerships that work.

Plaque:  For Facilitating Partnerships with Business Support Organisations to spur the growth of ENTREPRENEURSHIP in Manufacturing, Services, Engineering & Construction

NEW GPC INC. (LIMACOL)

The New GPC together with its predecessor, the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation, has been in existence for about 90 years, and is the Caribbean’s oldest and largest manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals including the well known coolant LIMACOL, over-the-counter cosmetic preparations, and veterinary products.

In 2013, a unique opportunity was presented to re-brand and reposition the LIMACOL product. That opportunity was the new Caribbean Premier League Cricket tournament. The owner of the New GPC, Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop, lost no time signing on as the first Franchise Owner and he officially dubbed it the LIMACOL CPL. The catch seller was: “CPL, THE COOLEST SPORTING LEAGUE IN THE CARIBBEAN JUST GOT COOLER”. That is superb word-play.

The New GPC has made a long term commitment to sustain the future of Caribbean cricket which, for decades, has been the biggest and most spectacular sport in this hemisphere. Tonight we honour this insightful commitment to link a Guyanese pharmaceutical with the love of the Caribbean.

Plaque: “In recognition of unprecedented investment in Sports and Culture at the regional and international levels.”

SPECIAL LONGEVITY AWARDS

“Our deepest appreciation for over six decades of stability and growth through Innovativeness and Modern Technology”

1.      Gafsons Industries Ltd. received by Mr. Sattaur Gafoor, CEO,

2.      John Fernandes Ltd.

3.      Toolsie Persaud Ltd.

4.      Brass, Aluminium & Cast Iron Foundry

5.      Banks DIH Ltd.

6.      Edward B. Beharry Group of Companies

7.      Demerara Oxygen Company- received by Mr. Harris

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Mrs. Doreen De Caires

She has always been a very vocal proponent for a vibrant, impactful private sector. Her voice, while she was still active on GMSA’s Board of Directors, was loud and her message clear – The Association MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT at any cost for growth of the manufacturing sector.

It’s this same energy that brought the Stabroek News, from being the first independent daily newspaper in post-colonial Guyana to a news entity that has retained its standards and its status … not without a fight.

Doreen is quite a character – her advice and charm, her determination and good intentions, will continue to inform the Association’s way forward.

AWARD: “Our deepest appreciation for your long and dedicated service, and for promoting the development of the Private Sector”