– opening date to be announced soon; all spots rented
By Navendra Seoraj
STIMULATING the interest of patrons through entertainment, excellent cuisine and a variety of stores will not be the only purpose of the second phase of the multi-million dollar Amazonia Mall at Providence on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), as the investor, Ramnaresh Sarwan, envisages that the facility will create employment for close to 250 persons.
The Amazonia Mall, which is strategically positioned to capitalise on and cater for the growing population on the EBD, is on course to being fully completed very soon. And, according to Sarwan — a renowned Guyanese cricketer — all of the stalls at the mall, including those in the area designated for a food court, have been rented.
Altogether, the various sections of the two-phased mall will create over 250 direct jobs, said the investor during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle at the facility on Monday.
Phase one of the project was completed approximately four years ago and is now home to Massy stores, the New Thriving restaurant and Fitness 53 gym; the construction of phase two started in October 2018.
“The second phase is where we have the movie theatre, the shopping areas and also a bar, lounge and restaurant together and a food court. Well, I am happy to say that everything is taken. This is good for us,” Sarwan said.
Caribbean Cinemas, which will have six theatres, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Optique Vision Care and Reaz Computers are among the businesses already aligned to this project. Additionally, the facility will be home to Sarwan’s very own RS 53 ‘RestoBar’ and Lounge and his brother, Ravi’s “The Flame”- a creole restaurant which will feature a multiplicity of Guyanese cuisine.
“My aspect of the work is 95 per cent completed…just the drive-thru section has to be completed, some tiling work and that is basically my side…most of the remaining work is directly with the tenants. So, hopefully by the end of this week an opening date will be announced,” Sarwan said, adding that the aim is to open the facility long before the end of the first half of this year.
The former cricketer was pleased to see that his vision is unfolding rapidly and will soon be completely achieved.
Talking about this vision, Sarwan said: “The vision is to create a facility that will serve the recreational needs of the population. The target market is basically the West Side [Demerara] and the East Bank [Demerara]. The vision there was that here would grow and this is indeed what is happening, it is now one of the most developed areas and there is still quite a lot of land remaining for housing.”
Research shows that the opening of major shopping centres typically come with the promise of a net increase in employment and an overall boost for the economy of the town in which they are established. The year 2021, according the President, will be the springboard from which Guyana will leap into recovery, rebuilding the economy, enhancing the people’s health and lifting up the vulnerable in groups in society.
“We must not remain a rich country of poor people,” President Dr Irfaan Ali said during his message to the nation on January 1, 2021. This country, having received payment of US$49.3 million for its fourth oil lift, has ended the year on a high note with approximately US$200 million being generated so far from the country’s nascent oil-and-gas sector.
Considering the country’s oil revenue and other lucrative sources of income, the President believes that the standard of living and the quality of life must be lifted for all. Work will be rewarded; hard work will be rewarded even more, he said.
“Opportunities will be created to join in such work, and they will be made available to all. I recognise that there are communities within our society which, because of disadvantages of geographic location, will need more help than others to join our national advance,” President Ali reasoned.
Guyana will have to identify those communities, assess their needs, identify solutions, and implement plans to change their circumstances. This change will not occur overnight, it will take time. But every journey begins with a first step, the President said.
“I intend to initiate that first step, and to maintain a steady pace that will take us to that journey’s end. We still have many challenges ahead of us,” the Head of State said.
In the President’s assessment, Guyana’s economic recovery is demonstrably underway, with the business communities in Georgetown and elsewhere reporting better performances over the recent holiday season, than any of the previous five years; and this was achieved, even with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President believes that there is more money in circulation, and more disposable income in people’s pockets than the country has witnessed in a long time.