Dr. Vishnu Bandhu
This week, I had decided to write about the breaking news that after two years in
Government, the crime rate is getting worse. The police are reporting that crime is
up by 33%, and we are not even into the Christmas season yet. I will probably deal
with this topic at a later date.
I want to note, with much excitement, the launching of the multi-million-dollar
turmeric factory at Hosororo, Barima-Waini. Guyanese are long known for our
ingenuity and hard work. I have travelled the world, literally, and every aspect of
development I have seen in those countries, I envision in Guyana. We have the
brains, the work ethic, the stamina, the drive and the commitment. And what we
don’t possess locally, we have fellow Guyanese in the Diaspora who can
supplement any local lack we have.
So now we have a factory that will not only bring in foreign exchange but it will save
the country several thousands of expended foreign currency. This is progress.
There will also be several direct and indirect jobs created. This is also a great
spinoff. Dr. Oudho Homenauth and his team are due for some loud praises, for
putting this together.
Local ‘mom and pops’ farmers will be able to sell their turmeric to the factory and
receive a substantially higher price, than when they sold on the retail market. The
thirty local farmers will no doubt grow and the acreage of turmeric currently under
cultivation will definitely increase. This has no doubt created excitement and actual
jobs in a region hit hard by unemployment.
The United Republican Party(URP), has never doubted the prospects of the
average Guyanese citizen. What we have been challenging for the last three
decades is the administrative backwardness and political strangulation that have
crippled this nation since our independence. Imagine, please, what Guyana would
look like if the Governments behaved in ways that are progressive, transparent and
void of political cronyism.
It must be noted that this turmeric factory is a government facility. And while the
URP congratulates the Granger administration, it would be well to suggest that
incentives need to be given to local investors so that they too could construct
similar processing and value-added plants. Taxes need to be rolled back on
manufacturing goods and equipment. Low-interest loans should be made available
to small entrepreneurs and business persons.
Every day we waste millions – maybe even billions – of dollars in spoiled and
damaged fruits and vegetables. We also discard tons of fish and other marine
catches. If businesses were sufficiently encouraged and incentivized, Guyana can
process and package just about all our fruits, vegetables and sea food. Plants and
industries can be set up in all the regions based on the products unique to the
regions. If this is guaranteed and facilitated by the Government, in short order,
Guyana will fulfill its long touted designation of being the Caribbean’s Bread Basket.
So let me, on behalf of the URP, again thank those responsible for this worthwhile
investment. However, the URP believes that in a different political climate, much
more can be done. So we will continue to agitate for more balanced and inclusive
The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.