Granger somersaults on plantain chip recommendation
…tells Berbicians to get into manufacturing
In what is considered a complete backpedalling of his previous advice to young Guyanese, President David Granger is now calling on Berbicians to stop selling plantain chips at the Berbice River Bridge and get into manufacturing instead.
The Head of State made this statement on Friday in the country’s oldest town as he declared the 2019 New Amsterdam Town Week open.
In October of last year at Rose Hall Town, Corentyne, the President, responding to a question from a young lady about the availability of job opportunities as promised on the 2015 campaign trail said “The possibilities of employment with the Government are limited but the possibilities of self-employment are unlimited. When you ask what are the job opportunities and about the brain drain, I tell you that you don’t have to run and leave because this is the land of promise and opportunities. Young people must learn to go out and create jobs and there are so many possibilities here in East Berbice, anytime you go by the Bridge [Berbice River Bridge] you see people with these big laundry baskets selling plantain chips. That is business, don’t laugh at them”.
The Guyanese leader has been saying that there is scope for Guyana’s growth by selling plantain chips and cook-up rice.
However, former President and economist Bharrat Jagdeo, who is the current Opposition Leader, has slammed the President’s idea of job creation, saying that an economy cannot be run on plantain chips.
The President had defended his “plantain chip economy” proposal in the past, saying that “It may start with plantain chips… small things could end up big… Some people call it the plantain chip economy. I would like those same people to go to the regional exhibitions which we have been holding around the country and see women coming out of Yupukari and Hiawa, see housewives getting into the microeconomy; and you can see something happening in Guyana”.
But now, the Head of State is suggesting that persons stop selling plantain chips at the Berbice Bridge and get into manufacturing. He said Region Six (East Corentyne-Berbice) should get more into agro-processing.
“Region Six can produce enough processed food for the entire Caribbean. My friends, you have the potential, you have the land, you have the expertise [and] you have the resources. This region has all of the most important ecological geographical zones. It has coastland, it has grassland called the intermediate savannahs, it has high land in the south; the New River area, it has hilly sand and clay zone,” the President stated.
Region Six, he went on to say, has become the economic engine of the east of Guyana – a region which is rich in resources and agricultural produce.
Bauxite, rice and sugar, he noted, are some of the commodities coming out of the region thus making it the agricultural heartland of the country.
Half of the sugar and a quarter of the rice produced in Guyana come from Region Six alone. The region also produces a substantial portion of fish, cattle and livestock along with more than twenty-five per cent of the vegetables grown in Guyana.
As it relates to fruits, Region Six produces more than twenty per cent of what the country produces.
Despite this, however, the President said the region is not doing enough. To this end, he pointed out that agro-processing is the way forward.
“Stop celling plantain chips at the Berbice River Bridge…,” the Head of State stressed.
Zeroing in on New Amsterdam and Town Week activities, President Granger said as the town celebrates its 128th anniversary as a municipality, it is a time to celebrate the town’s rich history and heritage.
Meanwhile, the Town’s Mayor, Winifred Haywood, boasted that over the past year, New Amsterdam has made great strides with the rehabilitation of the Bermine Ground and the synthetic track, which is currently being constructed at the Burnham Park. The restoration of the Esplanade Park and the street lighting project were also heightened by Her Worship.
Among the activities planned for the one-week programme are the Mayors Ball, birding competition, inter-school debating competition, senior citizens breakfast, high school basketball competition, all-white cocktail party, male empowerment pageant, domino competitions, softball cricket competitions, poetry competition, big people party one-man band, medical outreaches, renaming of streets in Stanleytown, a street fair and exhibition. The week of activities will conclude on November 3, with a duck curry competition and cooler fete.