Last Updated on Friday, 5 August 2016, 20:50 by Denis Chabrol
President David Granger on Friday announced plans to create three more towns as part of efforts to trigger economic activity and target Caribbean and South American markets while satisfying local demand.
“This is something that we’ll rectify over the next three years; that every single region must have a regional capital,” he said at the commissioning of a support and oil spill clean up vessel owned by GAICO Construction and General Services.
The President said regional capitals would be established in the three major coastal regions Region Three (West Demerara-Essequibo Islands), Region Four (Demerara- Mahaica) and Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).
The next Local Government Elections are constitutionally due in 2019.
Prior to Local Government Elections earlier this year, government established Bartica, Mabaruma, Lethem and Mahdia as towns aimed at becoming “hubs of economic growth, population, public services.” Mahdia is not yet functioning as a municipality. Bartica, Mabaruma and Lethem are the regional capitals for Region Seven (Mazaruni-Cuyuni), Region One (Barima-Waini) and Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) respectively.
“With the revitalization of local democracy we expect these hubs to reinforce links to new markets within the country and beyond into the Caribbean,” he said. The President expects that manufacturers and service providers will extend their markets to South America and the Caribbean through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. “These towns in turn will trigger economic activity, the development of a single economy and the perfecting of the Single Market within Caricom, CSME, will provide an enlarged market for local goods, local services and investments,” he said.
The President cited the need for Guyana to build an entrepreneurial class, access cheap energy, bridge the Essequibo River and diversify the national economy in order to reduce its dependence on primary products- rice, sugar, bauxite, gold, timber, fish.
Granger has previously envisioned the need for capital towns to operate as self-sufficient corporations that generate their own revenue and provide services to their citizenry.
Guyana’s other towns are Georgetown, Linden, Anna Regina, New Amsterdam, Rose Hall Town and Corriverton.