THE US$24 million Giftland Mall, the largest in Guyana and comparable to any in the Caribbean, has been formally opened.The mega-structure boasts stores vending an array of items, cinemas, bars, restaurants and playgrounds. It is the realisation of a dream of its visionary owner, prominent local businessman, Mr. Roy Beepat.
Beepat said the Turkeyen facility will raise the quality and standard of customer service in Guyana.
The shopping complex was made possible through support from a number of corporate entities, including the First Citizens Bank, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), Assuria, Rubis, and Nand Persaud Investments.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Ian Ramdeo said the first phase of the project has been completed, while Phase Two, which includes the opening up of several other stores, is near completion.
Phase Three of the project will see the opening up of the Mall’s outdoor entertainment facilities.
Ramdeo told the gathering at the opening, which included Acting President and Prime Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo; Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin; Minister of Tourism, Ms. Cathy Hughes; members of the private sector; the Beepat family and members of the diplomatic community that the company aims, through the edifice, to provide a complete experience for shoppers.
The CEO said Giftland deeply values its customers, and noted that all Guyanese could be proud to have a shopping centre which caters for their varying needs.
He also thanked the current Government and the former Administration for their support, as well as his hard -working staff who gave of their best to ensure shopping at Giftland is an easy, comfortable experience.
According to GBTI CEO, Mr. John Tracey, the Mall is no ordinary achievement. He recalled that construction began from zero on swampy grounds, but Mr. Beepat, a man with a broad vision and strong determination, defied the odds.
The fruit of his labour is the new state-of-the-art Giftland Mall, one where consumers can shop in a safe and secure environment.
Tracy also urged the Government to support private enterprise development like Giftland.
Minister Gaskin was also high in praise of Mr. Beepat. He said the Turkeyen facility reflects the businessman’s strong entrepreneurial spirit. The Mall, his dream, was made reality through the harmonisation of talent.
The success of the company, the minister said, is rooted in Beepat’s passion for detail, strategic planning, customer service, sharp purchasing, staff incentives and development programmes, efficiency, innovative marketing and a desire to keep improving product lines and service.
With the new Mall, Giftland is projecting an increase in sales of 115 per cent, as it moves from the Water Street store to the new location.
“The confidence it signals to the Guyana economy is a confidence that I hope will resonate throughout the local business community and even beyond,” Minister Gaskin said.
He said under the new Administration, strong attention will be placed on fairness, openness and respect for the law. These, he said, ties into good governance, and good governance is important for creating an environment to attract investors.
Many investors have also complained about the long time it takes to establish business here. This issue, Minister Gaskin said, will be addressed as a matter of priority.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo described the Mall as the most beautiful innovation on the landscape of Guyana.
“We can, as Guyanese, as business persons in Guyana,” he said, “match up to the best anywhere in the world. And this should not be only the determination of one person and the Beepat family; it also shows how far we can go, if we can bring together the efforts and the resources of insurance companies, of Banks, of business persons and other sectors… to pool their resources, then you can make such a Giftland possible, not only in Georgetown, but in other parts of Guyana.”
The Mall is strategically located in close proximity to the University of Guyana; the CARICOM Secretariat; the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (formerly the Guyana International Conference Centre); and the National Aquatic Centre.
By Tajeram Mohabir