Business is not bad. The businesses are moving out of Georgetown – Adam Harris

Business is not bad. The businesses are moving out of Georgetown

Adam Harris

President David Granger is bent on pursuing a programme that would ensure a good life for all. In the face of talk about unemployment there is increasing employment. It may not be recognized, but more people are working. The unfortunate thing is that people are still refusing jobs under the pretext that they do not want “that job.”

Many young people feel that they should all work in offices, even though they are not so qualified. So bent are they on getting what they want, that they do not take time to take what is available and work for what they want. Many do not even seek to enhance their qualifications. They seem stuck in what they have done.   

It is the same with the business community. Many continue to do the same thing in the face of dwindling response from the consumer. The result is that they contend that business is bad, that there is a slowdown in the economy.

Of interest is the growth of the country. In recent years there has been a major population shift away from the city. The development of new housing schemes is responsible for this. I am seeing massive growth in communities like Parika, Diamond, West Bank Demerara, East Coast Demerara and parts of East Bank Demerara. In fact, the growth of business centres is so extensive that at first it passed unnoticed.

I had the opportunity to travel along coastal Guyana and I was amazed at the number of people who now visit these new business centres. When the Demerara Harbour Bridge reported a six per cent drop in traffic, like many others, I blamed the parking meter system. The truth is that people simply decided to shop in their communities.

And there is good reason. For starters, some of the prices match those in the city, and in some cases, the prices are lower. The range of goods is as wide as can be seen anywhere. To add to the situation is the fact that there is often no need for expensive transportation.
I also saw those with adequate mobility travelling to the business centres outside the city because of people’s need to visit other places if only for a change. Suffice it to say, those out of town businesses are doing fairly well, to the extent that some are expanding their operations.
I would expect that the Private Sector Commission would reach out to these new businesses, but that is not the case at this time, because for decades, Georgetown was considered the place to set up business. I am aware of thriving businesses even at Charity. I have seen the crowds that descend on that Pomeroon community at weekends.

This development was a long time coming. For as long as I could remember there was a move to expand the business centres of the country. There was even talk of moving the capital, but that was more because of geological reasons. Georgetown is below sea level and the rising Atlantic was predicted. The view was that if the capital could be moved to high ground then the international community operating here would not have to worry about being flooded out.

It is also not surprising that the foreign currency problem that was so touted a few weeks ago has all but disappeared. Those business centres outside the city had to ensure their continued existence, and they did what they had to do. They bypassed those institutions that threatened their very existence.

Of interest is the creation of jobs for people in the communities in which these business centres operate. Georgetown is no longer the be all and end all of things Guyanese. It was once so prominent and perhaps it still is that people who live abroad, when asked where they were from, merely said GT. People understood that they were from Guyana. Georgetown was Guyana.
Now the price of land in the new business centres has risen to levels that once was reserved for real estate in the city. Guyana is changing for the better. It is therefore not surprising that the government, recognizing the shift in economic activity, is spending money on infrastructure in these new business centres.

On Thursday when Minister Joseph Harmon held his press conference, he announced a raft of contracts in various parts of the country. Immediately I asked about the employment opportunities that these contracts would realize. That has long been my pet peeve. I always believed that if some work was being done in a given community, then the people from that community should benefit.

Mr. Harmon said that the aim of such programmes is to help some communities to enjoy the benefits of the contracts, in addition to keeping an eye on the work being done. I am going to see massive infrastructure works in those parts of the country where the new business communities have sprung up.

But there is more to all this, there is the acknowledgement that Guyana is growing at a good pace. I could only imagine the heightened tempo when oil comes. The money is not going to be concentrated in one part of the country. For example, the constructions are not going to be seen only in Georgetown.

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