Guyanese business reps off to Cuba on trade mission

Last Updated on Friday, 28 October 2016, 17:26 by Denis Chabrol

The Private Sector Commission on Friday announced that a delegation of private sector representatives will be journeying to Cuba to take part in the country’s annual international trade fair and explore business opportunities.

The delegation, which will be led by Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, comprises of representatives from Roraima Airways, Banks DIH Ltd., Beharry’s Group of Company, Global Seafoods, Guyana Rice Development Board, Gafson’s Industries, and Goinvest.

Executive member of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Dookhoo said the focus of trade will mainly be on food products, like rice, during the venture. Dookhoo said it is expected that the friendship between Guyana and Cuba will be strengthened through Guyana’s attendance at the fair, which could make business with Cuba easier.

Guyana's Ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed.

Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed.

“This delegation has a huge plus. They are going on the coattails of the Obama initiative that took place in Cuba. So the whole world is getting more friendly to Cuba. Guyana has been great friends with Cuba for over many many many years, especially in our socialist past. And Cuba has been our good friend…I believe that is what is gonna help us…Cuba is seen by the private sector all over the world as a place for opportunity, as an emerging market place…,” Dookhoo said.

Adding to this, Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio Marchante said that plans are being put into place for the development of culture, sports, and health between the two countries. “The Minister of Education visit(ed) Cuba last year September and he signed on behalf of the government, one agreement which covered the possibility (…) to do any kind of exchange in the area of culture, sports and any other (area),” the ambassador said. He also revealed that the Minister of Health visited Cuba last week and there have been talks on the area of business. “Cuba is producing some type of medicine that can be very useful(…)for example one kit that is done for the ladies that are pregnant that is produced in Cuba, and that determines when the baby is coming have any (deformity) and so on,” he disclosed.

When asked whether Guyana has the required volumes at competitive prices to supply products consistently, Dookhoo told Demerara Waves, “(when) you have a market you ramp up the production if you don’t have it.” He added that the balance of trade between Guyana and Cuba is very low. Meanwhile, Captain Gerry Gouveia told the media that, “Roraima Airways, over the last month, as we expanded our interest in Cuba, we have had to employ six Spanish-speaking Guyanese…never understood why Spanish was compulsory in school but now we have a whole host of applicants with young Guyanese producing their certificates in Spanish, and we are hiring a while host of them now for the airport and for our hospitality services. It’s creating a while new area of possibilities.”

With the help of Mr. Gouvieia, there are now direct flights from Guyana to Cuba on the Honduras-based EasySky airline.