President David Granger told Guyanese at a meet and greet reception on Sept. 22, that Guyana needs ‘brains not barrels” and called on expatriates to investment in the development of their homeland, during an address at the midtown New York Princeton Club.
“We welcome your investments. We need your intellectual capital, with your help, we could become an important manufacturing country and not simply exporters of raw materials,” Granger told a packed audience of professionals, dignitaries and diplomats.
“We want to export the best furniture, and the finest jewelry to develop these industries. We could become an important manufacturing country, but we cannot do it alone,” said President Granger.
Calling bauxite, timber, gold, diamond, rice, and sugar, the ‘six sisters’ that have been Guyana’s main industries, President Granger noted that some of these industries are tired, adding that diversification in manufacturing is needed to move Guyana’s economy forward.
“Guyana is ready to take off, other countries have used Guyana’s products. We produce the best Demerara Rum and Demerara Sugar, we must become innovative, we can do it.”
He emphasized the importance of creating a strong infrastructure and called for engineers to bridge parts of Guyana, stating that the vast Essequibo region “does not have one single bridge.”
President said there is urgency for Guyana to build highways, and bridges, noting that it takes Minister Hastings-Williams MP, two days to travel to Georgetown to attend Parliament from the hinterland.
“We boast about our rivers, yet we cannot conquer the hinterland to move our people freely unless we have a sound infrastructure and information technology so that you could communicate with your homeland.”
While acknowledging Guyana’s pending petroleum boom and the country’s commitment to improving the lives of our people, President Granger called on United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to protect small states such as Guyana.
“Guyanese, it is important that we meet with Secretary-General Guterres who has the authority to bring about a successful, lawful and peaceful resolution on your behalf. We have suffered too long at the hands of the Venezuelan government, denied investment, and expelled from peaceful exploration.”
“We cannot move forward if we are denied resources particularly now that we are about to embark in a new industry. We want to remind the UN that it is their obligation to protect small states. We have to work to make sure you have a home to come back to.”
“We have no doubt that you love your country. We have a beautiful, bountiful, blissful country with amazing biodiversity,” added President Granger.
During his address, President Granger pledged support for members of the Guyanese Diaspora in the Caribbean who were displaced by recent hurricanes, saying, “They need our assistance. We must have the ability and capacity, not only in times of catastrophe but to accommodate Guyanese who want to retire in their homeland.”
First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, who attended the 72nd Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly with President Granger and participated in United Nations forums on women’s issues, attended the reception.
Consul General of New York,Mrs. Barbara Atherly who hosted the event with Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations, Ambassador Michael R. Ten-Pow, and attended by Second Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge and Minister Hastings-Williams MP, thanked Guyana’s delegation by saying, “We want to say thanks to the delegation for so aptly representing our country, keeping at the forefront of the debate the Guyana / Venezuela controversy.”
Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Audrey Waddel, state Senator, of the 19th District of Brooklyn, Roxanne Persaud, President of the Guyana Unity Movement Sherif Fraser and President of the Guyana Tri-State Alliance Patricia Jordon-Langford also attended the reception.