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President Irfaan Ali on Friday disclosed that the Port Mourant Training Centre would be transformed into the country’s National Oil and Gas Institute.
The Head of State made the announcement while delivering remarks after his site visit to the Berbice Deep Water Port, which is being constructed by Canadian company CGX Energy Inc, through its subsidiary Grand Canal Industrial Estates Inc (GCIE).
He reminisced on the quality of the craftsmen that the centre has produced throughout the years, many of whom excelled outside of Guyana. With its drive for excellence, he indicated that it would be the perfect location to have the transformation area of study.
According to an Office of the President release, the government’s plan to invest heavily in the education sector was repeated by the President, who said that the platform and infrastructure will be created to ensure that teachers and nurses can pursue their post-graduate studies remotely in the region via distance and online education. “Young teachers, you can become a trained teacher from right here in Berbice. That is the investment platform we are building.”
President Ali said that high on the agenda of his Government is to transparently design Guyana’s future so that it will deliver prosperity for the next generation while ensuring that the framework is created so that the current generation can enjoy the benefits of Guyana’s economic potential and continuous growth.
“The objective of the plan for this region and a national strategy is to build sustainable communities.” He pointed out that sustainable communities are built on many different attributes, including sustainable jobs, social services that are second to none, education, health, infrastructure, water, electricity, economic empowerment and opportunities.
Adding to that, there is also a need to reduce the disparity between the rich and the ‘not so rich’ and between genders.
These fundamental elements of sustainable development will be added to the national and regional plans to ensure an across-the-board implementation. “If we have a deep-water harbour in Region Six that is linked to Suriname and linked to other opportunities, the infrastructure must be in place to take care of this. You must have wider roads; you must have better highways, and most people do not understand that Region Six has the important catalytic push to bring what we call trans-border development.”
He said that very soon, the project to expand the highway closer to international standards will be launched and will represent an investment of more than US$100m.
“Whilst we’re doing all of this, we’re expanding community roads, infrastructure. We’re investing heavily in drainage and irrigation services, and importantly, we are finalising arrangements for a new state-of-the-art hospital for first-world service here in Region Six because the focus is on healthcare.”
The President also said that in January, there would be a summit between Guyana, Brazil, Suriname and France—who has requested to join—to discuss the creation of an energy hub. “We’re discussing a joint gas strategy between Guyana and Suriname, and the gas is not only linked to the production of power or energy. For those of you who don’t know, in Region Six lies one of the largest A-grade bauxite deposits for Guyana. With cheaper power, cheaper energy and the combination of the bauxite on our side and the other side of the river, it makes the economic viability of a smelter possible—and not only possible— financially viable. A smelter that leads to an aluminium plant leads to constant work and a justification for a deep-water port that will be of the size and magnitude we can’t even imagine.”
President Ali also reminded of Government’s investment in the ICT, housing and agriculture sectors in the region. “So aquaculture, swamp shrimp, agro-processing—we’re not only talking the talk. In Black Bush, we have supported the building of an agro-processing facility by Umami. They are now going to take the excess production from Black Bush and package it…for the CARICOM market, for the European market, for the Canadian market, for the US and for the first time, that company now has a shop front on Amazon, and that’s shopfront carries 100% Guyanese products.” President Ali said that those initiatives are just the “appetiser on the menu of opportunities that will come your way.”