Guyana welcomes Chinese investors

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President Donald Ramotar speaking on the occasion of the opening of the Chinese owned Zhanghao Shipyard in Guyana

President Donald Ramotar speaking on the occasion of the opening of the Chinese owned Zhanghao Shipyard in Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) — Partnerships are indispensible to spurring Guyana to its fullest economic heights and, as such, President Donald Ramotar on Friday extended a welcoming hand to all Chinese investors.

Ramotar was at the time addressing the opening of the Chinese-owned Zhanghao Shipyard in Coverden, East Bank Demerara, and also the launch and naming ceremony for a logging vessel christened the ‘Yhan Heng freighter’. Also present were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy and Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin.

“I want to extend special greetings to the Chinese investors who have come here and to let them know that they are welcome in Guyana,” Ramotar said.

The president noted that China has tremendous capabilities, evident by the tremendous progress that the country has made in just over three decades. China’s growth is also unmatched, when compared to equivalent countries in any part of the world, he said.

“To see how fast that country has grown in just over three decades, speaks volumes for Chinese investors and their readiness to take risks. It also speaks volumes of their skills, of their traditions and customs, and their dedication to work and labour, and that is something we hope that we can emulate in our country,” the president said.

He pointed out that Guyana has been seeing the many examples of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Chinese investors and work with regards to the country’s infrastructure development.

“We saw their work at the Convention Centre (the Guyana International Conference Centre), we are seeing it now at the Marriott Hotel, they way they have produced, and the quality of work that is being produced, and we see it in the rest of the region, how much they have invested,” he said.

“So on behalf of the government and people of Guyana I want to express our sincere thanks to the Chinese government, people and investors, and to say that I look forward to, and I am ready to say openly that we are going to put all the facilities available that we give to investors, to try to attract more investments from China, in our country, to help us build Guyana and help us reach the full potential that this country can achieve,” he said.

Infrastructure development is indispensible to Guyana achieving its full potential, and to reach this height, the country’s partnership with Chinese communities is extremely important and vital, he underscored.

Construction on the Zhanghao shipyard started in 2012, but it wasn’t until late 2013 that construction began on the vessel that was meant to facilitate the transport of logs from Kwakwani where the company owns a logging concession.

The vessel, whose design and engine are Chinese, and its steel plates pre-formed in China as well, has the capacity to carry 200,000 tonnes of logs and six crew members and will take about four days from Kwakwani to the shipyard in Coverden, laden with the logs. The vessel was constructed with efficiency and pace by the workers of the company with 95 percent of the work being completed in just over three months.

Revitalising local sector

Ramotar said that the Zhanghao investment has the potential to revitalise the local ship and port making that would have declined, over time in Guyana.

“For me this is a really joyous occasion, because what we are seeing here is the expansion of our production capacity… this investment here will certainly help to stimulate a lot of other activities and allow the use of our rivers to cheapen transportation cost,” he said.

Prime Minister Hinds also expressed similar sentiments. He expressed hope that the Zhanghao investment would be the first in the journey of many leaps with regard to the opening up of a niche for medium and small ship building enterprises in Guyana.

Ambassador Limin, in addition to praising the efficiency of the Zhanghao company workers in the construction of the vessel, also expressed gratitude to the government of Guyana, noting that the shipyard’s success would not have been possible without their cooperation.

Limin also said that Chinese have much more to offer Guyana once given the opportunity.