Members of the Guyanese diaspora are being encouraged to return to their homeland and invest in the villages all across the country.
The challenge was thrown out by President David Granger as he opened a new $130 Million gas station and shopping complex in the community of Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara.
The overseas based Wilson Family, which has strong roots in the community, returned to Guyana and made the investment. The President praised them for their love of country and confidence.
He told the gathering for the opening that Guyana welcomes investments, particularly from the Guyanese diaspora, which can boost village economies and lead to the return of the days of self-sufficiency in the agricultural and industrial sector.
“As I come here today, it is a journey of hope, that this initiative started by the Wilsons will trigger other activities by other members of the diaspora, who want to see the country of their birth prosper. First of all, I love the diaspora. I have great respect for them. Six years ago, I launched my campaign that brought me to this podium here today in the diaspora and I am always grateful to them for what they did then and the confidence they showed in me”, the President said.
He added that the diaspora possesses the capital and tremendous experience along with great determination, adding that, “I don’t see any distinction. I feel that those persons in the diaspora should continue to see themselves as Guyanese as Morris and Joslyn and invest and bring their talent; bring their treasury, bring their expertise. We need capital to develop village life in Guyana… If you love Guyana, come and invest.”
He said thriving village economies could translate into growth in the national economy and it is important that the diaspora be seen as an important source of direct investment.
“Encourage the diaspora to invest in their communities… Tell them when they look to their villages, whether it is Ann’s Grove or Beterverwagting. Then they must think of industries in these communities, then they must encourage their children to think of their homeland new industries to revitalise these communities. When they think infrastructure, let them come to these communities and ensure that the houses have renewable energy, telephones and other forms of infrastructure,” he said.
While praising the establishment of the gas station and plaza, which will boast a pharmacy, Church’s Chicken outlet, supermarket, a medical clinic and several other businesses, the Head of State said that initiatives such as these should be used to chart a new course for villages. He added, however, that investments are also needed to highlight the great potential for agro enterprises and self-sufficiency, which must again be at the centre of the nation’s development.
“We want to see industry and when we speak on industry, we speak of the ability to process raw materials. So we don’t see Buxton as a dormitory but I see it as an economic powerhouse. I see villages as economic powerhouses where production can take place”.
The proprietor of the business, Morris Wilson said that he has already spent $90M on the business but when fully completed by the end of February, that amount will be in the vicinity of $130M. He noted that once completed, employment would be provided for at least 70 persons at the location.
He said that he believes that Guyana is on a path of new growth and development, and as such, he decided to invest in the country. He noted that it is his wish too, like the President, to see other persons from the diaspora investing in their homeland, as the future seems very bright.