– after Govt outlines development agenda for Reg 10
By Jarryl Bryan
Budgets are not just about fiscal plans and economic growth figures. They also contain a road map of the Government’s developmental vision, and one investor paying keen attention to the current Government’s agenda has taken the bold step to make a huge investment in the mining town of Linden.
Thirty-eight-year-old Amar Chetram, who is in the process of establishing a US$2 million concrete production facility in Amelia’s Ward Industrial site, Linden, spoke of how he was inspired by the Government’s developmental agenda for Region 10 and the expected demand for concrete produced right in Linden.
“Basically, what happened is after the President (Dr Irfaan Ali) came to Linden and announced the thousand house project, we realised that Linden does not have the kind of facility in terms of concrete, ready mix and so on. Basically, what everyone does is they use the old-fashioned way of spade, ransom, the most equipment they would use in terms of getting ready-mix.”
“For them to get ready mix in Linden they have to use the people in Georgetown or East Bank, which is very costly for them. By the time the truck drive and reach to Linden, the concrete already gets hard. So, they couldn’t get quality concrete to build infrastructure in Linden,” Chetram explained.
Chetram, whose company is Caribbean Concrete Guyana Limited, already has a sawmill and zinc factory and so has a foothold in the construction sector. He noted that with the expected demand the construction of the thousand homes project and other projects like the Linden to Lethem road will create, investing in the facility made business sense.
“They will need concrete for the shoulders and all these things. So, we looked into those markets, if the Government decides to use concrete and do concrete shoulders. And then we realised they’ve been doing a lot of concrete drains and culverts. That made us actually invest into the project.”
The businessman described the plant as a state-of-the-art one, capable of producing up to 1000 cubic yards of cement per day. Chetram explained that the project is likely to employ around 50 persons, although this could increase depending on the demand for concrete.
According to Chetram, who only last week inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Ramsaroop, they expect the project to become operational within two months.
“We currently have around 20 (workers) on-site working now, getting the office buildings and other things done. We have normal clerical persons. And these are persons from Linden. We’re looking to hire persons from the community, unless we can’t get people from the community, then we have to source them from outside the community,” he said.
“We have the plant and everything on-site now. We have equipment coming in. We were waiting to sign the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with GO-Invest to get our concessions and so on, so we are in preparation to ship. We would have already bought a lot of the equipment and stuff already. Now that we signed last week, we will start shipping out.”
The long-awaited Linden to Lethem road, funding for which was put on pause by the British Government owing to the political upheaval in Guyana, is likely to see work beginning sometime this year.
The Linden to Lethem road, a key link between Guyana and Brazil with the potential to boost trade, is at present little more than an unsurfaced trail that deteriorates in rainfall. As such, the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme, administered through the CDB, will be providing funding for the first phase of the road from Linden to Mabura Hill, as well as a crossing at Kurupukari.
During a stakeholder consultation with members of Cabinet at Watooka Complex in the mining town last month, President Ali, who was accompanied by a number of Government Ministers and State agency representatives, had announced plans for the construction of 1000 houses in Linden.
The President, in his address, told residents that Government is working along with the Private Sector and the financial institutions to soon make the 1000 homes project a reality. In response to the issues of squatting and inaccessibility of land, which were outlined as issues plaguing the community by Regional Chairman Deron Adams, the President assured that Government would place focus on the housing sector, to meet the needs of the people.