Ber­bice must jump out of its ‘com­fort zone’ in con­tem­plat­ing life beyond sugar - Gaskin

Stabroek News - - BUSINESS -

Amidst sus­tained ex­pres­sions of con­cern over the an­tic­i­pated im­pact of the clo­sure of sev­eral of GuySuCo’s sugar es­tates in Ber­bice, Busi­ness Min­is­ter Do­minic Gaskin used the oc­ca­sion of last Fri­day’s 2017 Ber­bice Expo and Trade Fair to seek to as­sure the re­gion with the heav­i­est de­pen­dence on the sugar in­dus­try that the tran­si­tion from the crop that has been at the heart of the Guyana econ­omy will see the cre­ation of new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the re­gion.

Hav­ing now come to terms with the in­evitabil­ity of the sig­nif­i­cant di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion from sugar and the con­se­quen­tial loss of jobs, govern­ment is seek­ing to al­lay fears of an apoca­lyp­tic eco­nomic out­come that will im­pact neg­a­tively on both busi­nesses and in­come-earn­ing house­holds in Re­gion Six. There is ev­i­dence, how­ever, that al­lay­ing the deep-seated con­cerns amongst Ber­bi­cian busi­ness­men and res­i­dents whose liveli­hoods de­pend di­rectly on sugar will be a dif­fi­cult task.

When Stabroek Busi­ness trav­elled to Ber­bice just un­der a week ago to meet with Cen­tral Coren­tyne Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Raf­fik and to ‘take the tem­per­a­ture’ in the busi­ness com­mu­nity re­gard­ing the likely fate of GuySuCo, the gen­eral pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with what is now re­garded as the im­mi­nent wind­ing up of the sugar in­dus­try was

Con­cerns over life af­ter sugar did not ap­pear to di­min­ish the en­thu­si­asm of Ber­bi­cians for the an­nual Expo.

Busi­ness Min­is­ter Do­minic Gaskin

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