— 325 jobs to be created, investors’ confidence in Guyana ‘sky high’
PRESIDENT Dr Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday, turned the sod for the construction of a spanking $1 billion state-of-the-art mall at Leonora, West Coast Demerara.
Speaking before the turning of the sod for the US$5 million shopping centre, the President said the investment is among the wave of development sweeping through the country that will see the creation of a number of economic hubs.
”It is investments like these that are integrated in those hubs, that will act in a catalytic manner in bringing on investments in other sectors and this adds to the value chain in the creation of jobs and the expansion of the economy,” he said.
The new mall is being built by businessman and developer, Hemraj Albert. It is a private sector investment and the President reiterated his government’s support for the private sector in advancing growth and development of the country.
“To the Albert family, I want to assure you that the government is not only aware of the environment you are investing in, but we are supportive of the investment by the private sector. We are supportive of the private sector becoming the leading implementer of growth and development whilst the government provides that facilitation role. And this is the role of government, to create the facilitating role so that wealth can be created, jobs can be generated and the private sector play a key and critical role in this,” the President said.
The mall, to come on stream, he said, will complement the massive development projects slated for the region.
”Region Three has a growing population. Not only do we have a growing population, but we will have massive expansion of housing in this region. As a result of that, facilities like these become critical for the service of the region and the service of communities,” he said.
And collectively, he noted, all Guyanese must look pass ”selfish” and narrow political interest and focus on building a better Guyana.
”We have a responsibility as Guyanese to promote the development of Guyana. I am not asking anyone to promote the development of a government or political party. We have responsibilities as patriots, as Guyanese, to positively position our country for every opportunity. We have the chance to do so. We have Guyanese sacrificing and making life- changing investments to create jobs, to create better communities, but yet, some in the society would seek to even be critical of that,” he told the gathering that included the family of Albert and other special invitees.
The President also used the opportunity to announce several new developments in the region, including the expansion of banking facilities, the expansion of the housing sector and investments in agro-processing and in the hospitality sector.
”So, we are talking about diversification in oil and gas, industrial development manufacturing, base and logistics facilities. And then we also have interests in investment in the hospitality sector here in Region Three and all of this is private interests. In addition to this, one of our largest, local housing developers will soon commence work on the development of a massive medium to upper scale housing community—again private investment.”
Babita Sukhraj, Albert’s daughter, who also spoke at the sod-turning, related that following consultation with family and stakeholders, the name “West Central Mall” was chosen. The mall will include a gym, shopping stalls, business centres, movie theatre, conference facility, fine dining restaurant, supermarket, bars, arcade, food court and adequate parking facility.
It is expected to create some 325 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational.
“The management of West Central Mall will take pride in their social responsibility to the community, stakeholders and the residents of Region Three. All members of society will benefit from the giveaways, holiday hampers and celebrations. West Central Mall will be the apple of Region Three with the support and involvement of all stakeholders,” Sukhraj said.
President of the Region Three Chamber of Commerce, Halim Khan, said the US multimillion-dollar investment will stimulate growth in the region. Businessman and investor, Hemraj Albert, who has been in business since 1984, said he had a vision for the construction of the mall for a long time in his head and he is happy to see the commencement of its materialisation.
“The hard work and dedication to my business has led me in achieving this vision, the West Central Mall. I am looking forward for the support from the region and government agencies and, most importantly, the residents of Region Three. I am sure the mall will bring comfort and joy to the consumers as we are going to ensure the highest quality of service,” the businessman said.