Investment opportunities in Guyana worth millions of dollars appear to have captured the attention of dozens of workers and entrepreneurs eager to tap into its growing market.
Authorities are also touting Guyana as a key component of Barbados’ quest for economic growth amid assurances from the South American CARICOM nation that Barbadian talents in agriculture, renewable energy, construction, the creative industries and other sectors would receive first choice.
At a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade seminar on Exploring Potential Investment and Trading Opportunities in Guyana at the UWI Cave Hill’s School of Business, scores of Barbadians heard experts speak on Guyana’s investment potential.
Minister of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands told the seminar that as Guyana’s oil bounty moves the country from a Gross Domestic Product of $3 million to $14 million; the country was well-positioned to meet the growing demand, allowing them to expand their businesses outside of Barbados.
She said: “280,000 people [in Barbados] will not give you enough demand to build your business. If there’s going to be room enough in our economy for new business and businesses are to grow from strength to strength, we must find more people to consume our goods and services. Hence, export is the answer to our growth.”
Exports, she explained, is why Prime Minister Mottley continues to push the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Husbands said: “[The Prime Minister] recognised that without creating the market space for the enterprises to grow, we could not hope to generate the GDP that Barbados was going to need to provide goods and services for citizens, provide opportunities for our young people, to generate wealth and broaden wealth participation by more and more people in Barbados.
“Hence you would see her moving throughout the Caribbean with the CSME laying that foundation.”
While acknowledging citizens did not always appear to understand the CSME, the trade minister stressed free movement of labour, people and goods across the region was crucial.
“I believe Guyana presents one of the best opportunities not just for Barbados, but for CARICOM,” Husbands continued.
“In Guyana there are hundreds of business people as I am speaking, who are there looking for the opportunities that will flow out of that oil wealth. They are coming from France, England, Japan, Canada, China, and the United States.
“Guyana’s position is that CARICOM must be present and the Guyanese have welcomed us with open arms. We have had invitations from Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce and the question is always, ‘where is Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean’.”
Guyana’s Consul General Cita Pilgrim praised Government’s forward-thinking approach on Guyana.
Pilgrim said: “Your presence here in such large numbers suggests that you, too, recognise the opportunities which are opening up in Guyana as a result of the exploitation of vast amounts of oil.
“As production comes on stream next year, the need for goods and services will expand exponentially. As a country on the move we are very open to investment and you should bear in mind that the level of competition will be very stiff. So your Government is to be commended on its efforts to guide you accordingly. Our counsel is pleased to help.