Businesses cautiously optimistic over 50th jubilee celebrations

By Romario Samaroo

Across the city of Georgetown business-owners are having mixed opinions on the outlook of sales for Guyana’s 50th jubilee celebrations.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon, had said that as Guyana looks to celebrate its 50th year as an independent nation, the economy is expected to experience a boost due to the mass number of overseas-based Guyanese and tourists expected for the event.
From an economic standpoint, the expected chain-reaction of these foreigners in the country will lead to a surge in spending across hotels, craft shops, entertainment facilities and all other business entities. The locally economy will benefit tremendously. However, as it stands presently, a lot of businesses are complaining of the slow turnover of money nationwide.
Market vendors are already crying out that their produce aren’t selling as before, while store-owners are not having the best of times either. Samantha Kamal complains “business is a little slow in general.”
Stephanie, a local craft shop operator in City Mall is also not too pleased with how business is going but is hopeful the upcoming celebrations can influence a positive change.
But not all businesses are crying, Sookraj, a Regent Street store-owner, is accepting of the state of business, nevertheless he would welcome an increase in business.
Margret Jones who sells clothes on Wellington Street is also hopeful the upcoming celebrations will bring a change in fortune to her business as “it has its ups and downs but it’s been down a while”
Craftsmen selling tokens and souvenirs of Guyana are patiently awaiting the foreigners as they are the ones who usually purchase these products.
The Chinese business community are not too pleased with the state of business either. A Chinese trader operating in the Sino Mall recalled the terrible state of business that resulted in her closing down her fast food restaurant. She is now wholly dependent on her commodities store to earn a living.
This dilemma “slow business” is not only affecting the Georgetown area but also in Berbice and Region Three. Jamal Braithwaite, who rents a shop around the Skeldon market cried out “this is one of the worst patches” he has seen.
One commonality among every store operator apart from their concerns of economic stagnation are their concerns over security. These traders noted that the crime rate is one of the main deterrents of doing business now.
A lot of them are also seriously inquiring about the government’s approach in tackling crime, saying it is too often they hear and/or see robberies and murder.
Sophie Mohan pointed out, “this looks terrible on our country, especially with outsiders coming.” She is hoping the police force can “step up and tackle crime—and do it fast.”
The parliamentary opposition PPP/C has already openly blasted the administration on their “poor strategies” in tackling crime, as well as putting mechanisms in place that would facilitate conomic growth.