Guyana and…..Worrying times for the globe – By Leonard Gildarie

Leonard Gildarie

By Leonard Gildarie – Kaieteur News – June 3. 2018

Times have changed dramatically in the last two decades.
Google, Facebook, Amazon and online shopping have emerged as powerhouses, with China, India, Canada, and of course the US, aggressively expanding.

We are now seeing high interest about the Middle East in this part of the hemisphere and we all know what is happening in Guyana with the emerging oil industry.

The world of business as we know it has evolved. People are doing deals and payments now from the comforts of their offices and homes, via their computers and smart phones. Want a part for your computer or car? Want some trendy new clothes or a sport utility vehicle in England or Japan or Miami? Yes, it is all possible now.         

I was telling a friend last week that our local businesses have to start taking advantage of the internet. Social media is a huge plus for marketing and the younger generation.

You don’t believe me? Let me give you an example. There is a Robb Street store that brings in women’s clothing. Using Facebook, the store uses models with the latest outfits, selling around $10,000 apiece. The store is unable to keep up with demand. The images are hungrily commented on, with numerous requests for prices.

Personally, because of my hectic work schedule, I have little time to visit the city proper.
I would love to go online and see what the City Mall and Giftland Mall have to offer.
I want to browse to a particular section where I can see whether there is a particular tie or phone case available. We see things like this on eBay, Amazon and countless other websites.

We are slow off the start and the reason, the sad reason, why our businesses are reporting slow business, is because they are insisting on doing it the old way.

Yes, many of the younger generation will walk Regent Street and shop and visit the malls. But we do have to tell them what we have.

I pay close attention to what is happening in Guyana. In every village, there is a Chinese supermarket or two, or three, opening. Visit Grove and Diamond, East Bank Demerara, and you will be shocked.

On Regent and Robb Streets, especially, the Cubans have been coming to mainly the Chinese stores. There is a fight by businesses to room them and minibuses are clamouring to take them to and from the Timehri airport.

The fact is that the Cubans are bringing US currencies. The stores, I suspect illegally, are accepting those US dollars.
How much of it is making its way back to the cambios or to an underground trade.

There is a story here. The other stores will look in envy at the operations of the Chinese-owned ones and maybe complain.

Yes, we may not agree. We cannot compete with the Chinese. The reality is that the Chinese are bringing what the people want.

You can walk into any supermarket and shop rice and a glass set. When you go by the counter, you can grab a pair of sun glasses or a flash drive and chewing gum. They are even selling Karibee rice and hair extensions.

The point is, we have to change and change dramatically if we want to stay alive in business. There are tools available and we have to grab them.

We saw big US names like Toys “R” Us and Macy’s, and others, closing stores like crazy. They are concentrating on online shopping.

We have Uber in the US where just clicking on an app, a taxi can be summoned.
On the world stage, things are happening too that we have to sit up and take notice of. It may be resolved, but rest assured, it will surface again.

CNN reported yesterday that US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived in the Chinese capital for talks with trade negotiators from the world’s second-biggest economy.

Ross is due to hold meetings today, before departing Beijing tomorrow – June 4. 2018.
The negotiations come after a rocky week, during which the United States tore up a tentative trade truce with China, and hit Canada, Mexico and the European Union with big tariffs on metal imports.
The US and China have been going at it for a while now.

We were worried recently when on another front, the US slapped sanctions on the Russian billionaire owner of Rusal, a bauxite company that has operations in Region 10.

Immediately, Oldendorff, the shipping company which takes Rusal bauxite out, announced it was pulling out.
The sanctions, appeared to have been lifted, but it should be a harsh lesson to us.

Overnight, things can change. We depend on our gold, rice, fish and timber exports for our foreign currency earnings. We lose that, and the already fragile system we have will come crashing down, sending the exchange rate up, and making the cost of goods more expensive. It can lead to inflation.

But all that is supposition.

We have to constantly look at ways to diversify our markets and services. Why should we look to the US, Europe and China for our markets? The region has a big demand for our rice, sugar and timber. Our ambassadors and businesses have to wake up and smell the coffee. We just can’t sit on our hands anymore.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/05/2018 at 10:38 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/05/2018 at 10:40 am

  • walter  On 06/05/2018 at 12:30 pm

    This can be good for Guyanese Companies to get their products “out there”. I know it is costly and not easy to get the businesses set up, but you are right the market is overseas. Off topic, I buy lots of Coconut water, I noticed the market is dominated by Thailand, makes me wonder why not Guyana?

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 06/05/2018 at 12:31 pm

    I wish there was a less complicated way of purchasing books by Guyanese authors available only in Guyana.

    Not too long ago, I desisted from making such a purchase after the Guyanese author told me he would mail me the book after receiving my payment. Fair enough. Assurance that he received my payment meant forwarding my Banker’s check by registered mail, thereby making the purchase too costly.

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