….Algoos pressing on with customs brokerage services
NANDALALL and Sabrina Algoo operated their customs brokerage business for many years from the back of their vehicle, so it’s not difficult to imagine why feelings of excitement and accomplishment permeated the opening ceremony of their new branch office on Sunday.
Little by little, the Algoos worked hard on providing a service that was efficient, reliable and trustworthy, even as they had not yet managed to acquire office space, thereby carving for themselves a good name in the industry. Mrs. Algoo was born and raised at De Willem South, West Coast Demerara (WCD), while her husband is from Leguan Island in the Essequibo River. She reflected on their early beginnings in an interview with Chronicle on Sunday, and couldn’t be happier that their branch office was being opened in the vicinity of where she grew up.
Their office at Public Road, Kitty, Georgetown, ran out of space to accommodate the number of staff members needed for the job, especially as they have been seeing a spike in the number of persons requesting their services. The new branch office, at Public Road, Cornelia Ida, WCD, caters for their customers from the Essequibo Islands and from WCD. They’ve also made it a point to employ persons who are residing in this section of the country.
“We branched away from Georgetown’s office to create this one…a documentation office. I stand to be corrected, but it’s the first of its kind in Guyana for a customs brokerage office to branch off,” Mrs. Algoo said, as she noted that it may also be the only office of its kind in Region Three.
Her husband was one of seven persons who wrote and passed the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) broker exams in 2001, which had seen 75 candidates. As Mrs. Algoo explained, although there may be many persons who are seasoned in the business, very few of them are licensed by GRA. So having been successful at the exam, Mr. Algoo kicked off single-handedly building his name in the customs business. In the meantime, his wife would assist him in the background to prepare invoices for his customers, among other things.
“The customers could not believe that we were operating from our vehicle,” she recalled, and so she decided to quit her job in 2012 and join forces with her husband, after which they eventually acquired office space. Within just a short time, the business grew tremendously.
What is unique about their business, Mrs. Algoo said, is that they place emphasis on working with high standards and offering their customers quality services. “We deliver what we promise and we are very considerate of our customers. Sometimes they may not afford to accumulate the duties. We would assist in doing that and then be patient with them; of course this is based on our relationship with them and how much we know them. Sometimes we extend credit…so we see with our customers.”
Meanwhile, a licensed broker is someone who is aware of all GRA regulations and everything that’s needed to make clearance of a ship or aircraft. “Our service is all inclusive. The customer just has to sit at home and relax. Going around, getting clearance and all of that is tedious; it takes an expert to do the job. So we process the documents for commercial cargo; prepare them and submit them to Customs.”
Remaining simple and humble
Although being excited about the new opening, Mrs. Algoo said she and her husband have chosen to continue leading simple lives. “We have remained very simple and humble and we see this as helping our staff. We don’t take all these gains for ourselves. We make sure that once we accomplish, it trickles down to them.”
Coming from a background of poverty, she recalled how her father worked very hard selling cane juice to support his family. “Poverty is a very bad thing. We had relatives who were already up there, wealthy and so forth, and we used to be like the scorn,” she said.
In fact, when her school friends would want to visit her at home, she would always make an excuse as she lived in a very small house, which didn’t even have a wall on one side. “My father patched it up with zinc and it was like that for years,” she reflected.
“Today, I am very happy that I can see my parents and siblings happy,” she said, adding, “I always said silently that when I grew up I want to break barriers and I don’t want my kids to grow up like that. I want to see my parents smile because my dad worked very hard. They really struggled and I owe it all to them.”