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Courts Optical opens its doors; Minister of Business eyes accurate employment, investment data

Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton (seated backing camera) examines Courts’ Managing Director, Clyde DeHaas’ eyes at the opening of the Courts Optical Centre. Looking on is Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin.

Decision makers will eventually be able to make concrete decisions based on accurate data on employment and Foreign Direct Investment, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin announced at the opening of Courts’ GYD$65 million dollar optical store.

He said Guyana does not have any proper system to compile and regularly publish data on how well government is doing to reduce unemployment and attract Foreign Direct Investment.

“Our government will place more emphasis on the use of accurate data to inform decision-making,” he said at the opening ceremony at Courts’ Main Street branch.

Gaskin said such statistics would help give context to investments such as Courts Optical and generally create a greater appreciation of the impact and importance of private sector investments on Guyana’s economy and the lives of its citizens. “Off course we in Guyana do not compile and regularly publish any data on unemployment that can be used to measure government’s performance in this regard,” he said.

He said this was especially so at a time when government was making every effort to create the conditions for new and future investments aimed at, among other things, creating jobs. “Our job, as a government, is not to create jobs but to maintain an environment in which businesses can be profitable and expand and hire people to do better paying jobs,” he said

The Minister of Business promised that government would be taking steps to improve the public transportation system to move goods and people as well as tackle other weaknesses such as poor electricity supply and limited access to finance cited in the latest World Bank Report on the Ease of Doing Business.  “The bottom line is that our government wants businesses operating in Guyana to be successful and to be profitable and we are willing to make the necessary investments to make that happen,” he said.

Gaskin lauded Courts (Guyana) for diversifying its products and demonstrating confidence in Guyana’s economy. “Their expansion into the optical market shows that they are seeing economic opportunities and are willing to pursue them. This is good news for Guyana!” he said.

Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton lauded Courts for its initiative, but at the same time he hoped that the Caribbean chain store would provide advanced diagnostic facilities beyond the prescription of spectacles. “If we could get Courts to expand much more than providing spectacles, that will be more ideal,” said Norton who is a trained ophthalmologist. He said Guyanese tend to think that eye problems could be solved by spectacles but there are other problems such as diabetes that cause people to lose their vision although they do not have cataract or glaucoma. One way of finding out, he said, is to have a photograph taken of the back of the eye.

Managing Director of Courts (Guyana), Clyde DeHaas said the response by the 19 optical stores across the Caribbean has been good. “It is very well received,” he remarked.

The Courts Optical store is staffed by five persons including an optometrist, dispenser, lens technicians and sales representatives. The optical store supplies the latest model brand-name spectacles that are bought directly from suppliers