–in the pipeline for Region Two, with plans to declare region a special development zone
–President Ali says, as new $200M Jaigobin Hotel opens at Henrietta
PRESIDENT Dr. Irfaan Ali has announced that Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) will soon be declared a special development zone that would advance investment opportunities.
The Head of State made this announcement at Henrietta, on the Essequibo Coast, where he helped to officially open the doors to the new $200 million Jaigobin Hotel.
He said that the development initiatives planned for the region covers technology, infrastructure, tourism, services and the ICT sector.
“Before I get to these thematic areas, let me tell you that we are going to declare Region Two as one of the regions in the special development zone,” Dr. Ali related.
The President said that specific legislation will be tabled in Parliament to recognise the zone, with definite incentives that are aimed at attracting more investors to the region and, by extension, the country.
To supplement this move, the President said that major infrastructural projects will be done in the region, and that includes the opening up of more than 10,000 acres of land for various purposes.
“We want to upgrade what we have here. By the time we get to the end of the next three- and-a-half, four years, we intend to have every single street, every single road in this country lit up, so that you can live in a secure and a more comfortable environment. That is why we’ve invested in building our energy portfolio, bringing close to 500 megawatts of new power on the grid,” President Ali related.
He said, too, that there will be tremendous investments in infrastructure, drainage and irrigation, and farm-to-market roads, among other initiatives.
The Head of State also related that there will be large investments in the services sector, especially the health sector, to make it “world-class”.
“We are going to spend every single cent that is required to bring first-class primary healthcare to every citizen. You will see in the next budget some specific announcements on healthcare that will be mind-blowing,” Dr. Ali said.
The President also pointed out that the government has already secured the financing for a full-fledged, state-of-the-art hospital for the region. He said that his government is very focused on its vision.
“We are not second-guessing our policies and programmes. We are not second-guessing our vision; we know exactly the path that we will take,” Dr. Ali related.
Resources, he said, will be available to develop a stadium in Region Two that will be up to par with International Cricket Council (ICC) standards.
In terms of security, the President reiterated that the current CCTV safe city programme will be expanded throughout the county, as part of the Safe Country Programme.
He added: “So, soon, you will see CCTV cameras; you will see the technology platform, but, more importantly, the command centre for your safe county as part of the country. Your command centre will be located right here in Region Two.
“It is part of the decentralisation of our securities network. What does that mean? That means at least 50 young people will have to be trained to man that command centre.”
The Head of State also emphasised the importance of tourism in Guyana, especially to the “Cinderella County”, as the Essequibo County is known.
He said that sports fishing is a massive market that Guyana could tap into, and highlighted that the government will move towards making legislation for hunting; legislation that will require a price and season.
“So, we will have sport fishing; we can create a ‘green’ tourism product easily here. We have all the ingredients for one of the strongest ‘green’ tourism products; with eco-lodges and so on. We have savannas. The region’s savannas is exceptional for camping, nature, and, with the right facilities, sports tourism,” President Ali said.
“You have a government that is ready to listen to you, and work with you to come up with the ideas. Come with a plan, and we will help you to develop them,” he added.
The President also reminded that his government will develop a learning hub for higher education, hospitality management, pharmacy and other specialised areas.
“So, as far as possible, the human resource we need for the building of this region must come from the region; that is the objective,” Dr. Ali said.
Agriculture was also discussed at great length, with the President pointing to his happiness in seeing the fields being planted with rice when he flew over.
He added that the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha will be launching a new initiative in ‘Smart’ Agriculture to encourage the participation of young people.
“They will build greenhouses, and in a controlled way; we can do high-value products, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Right now, we’re finalising efforts for that. We are also finalising efforts now to diversify the flower market,” President Ali said.