Min. Walrond optimistic about tourism potential in Wakapoa
The Small Business Bureau (SBB) recently conducted an outreach in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), where approximately 80 persons accessed the agency’s services and applied for small business grants.
On Tuesday, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond MP, joined the team from the SBB, as they visited Wakapoa, an Amerindian community which is also exploring its prospects in Tourism with help from the Guyana Tourism Authority.
“If you’re looking to start a small business, we are here to assist you with the training, and the idea is to as far as we can as Government, we want to bring our service to you, we recognise how onerous it is and expensive for you to travel out to the big cities or towns to get your training, so we want as much as possible to bring your training, bring your resources to you, so you are not tasked with the hardship of travelling and the expense of travelling,” the Minister told residents.
Minister Walrond noted that the community has potential to sell its beauty, peace and tranquility as a tourism product.
Several members of the community also benefitted from training.
Toshao Lloyd Pereira is also optimistic about the prospects for tourism in his village. He said the village council is currently preparing what can be offered for tourism in the community.
“We look forward that through Minister Walrond’s visit here, the Tourism Minister here, we can speed up tourism and of course get onboard in tourism, we realise that is the way we can go for Wakapoa and start selling our packages,” Pereira said.
Residents were given the opportunity to register their businesses with the Deeds Registry, Guyana Revenue Authority and the National Insurance scheme.
Some residents who benefitted from the services of the SBB also expressed appreciation for the intervention.
Dexter Emanuel said, “we looking forward in our community to launch our own product into bigger scales for example like the handicraft people need to know about this kinda stuff, then comes to our local stuff that we produce and call it cassava bread right an I think these things need launching more.”
Trevor Knights is into the poultry business and is appreciative of the interest paid by the Government in his community.
“I am very much impressed with what the Government has been doing for the one year they are in office and I can proudly say that things are changing, they are changing slowly at least for the one year in office. I can personally say that we had three visits from three different ministers and for the very first time we are seeing so many grants being given to the people and I can say with confidence that things are going to be better,” Knights said.
Troy Williams, another resident who benefitted from the services said, “I feel very happy to see the Minister and what the Government planning to do within the hinterland region, we are happy to access the service they provide to our community to deliver, rather than we travel the far distance to access the service.”
The SBB also held outreaches at the Essequibo Technical Institute and Akawini.
Representative of the Small Business Bureau, Shamane Headley said the help desk in the region will facilitate persons who did not have all their documents at the time of the outreach.
“Region Two is our first stop we are going to be going to several other regions, the regions we have earmarked so far are Regions Seven, Eight, Nine and we are going to follow up with other regions that we realize have the capacity and have need for additional support from the Small Business Bureau,” Headley noted.
In Region Two, almost 50 persons have benefitted from small business grants of $500,000. The SBB is working to provide easier access and quicker processing time for grants and loans countrywide.