GMSA sets up ‘Benab Duty-Free’ Shop and Expo at Umana Yana

The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) with support from the
Government of Guyana and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is hosting a satellite
event complementing the 2022 International Energy Conference & Expo.

The initiative was undertaken with the aim to provide local companies and businesses with an avenue to showcase themselves for the visiting international delegates of the conference.

The Benab Duty-Free Shop is being held at the Umana Yana and will run from February 12-
18.

On Saturday, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali visited the site of the expo to assess the activities being streamlined for the official opening of the expo.

President Ali took time to engage with the local exhibitors on their wide variety of products which he stated would intrigue the influx of delegates and sur. The Head of state was accompanied by President of the GMSA, Rafeek Khan, and First Vice President of the GMSA, Ramsay Ali.

He commended the efforts of the GMSA in ensuring that local manufactures and small
businesses are given the opportunity to market their products to the new and emerging
oil and gas sector.

One such small business owner that captured the President’s attention was Joan Winter,
a local proprietor of Joan’s Craft Shop hailing from St. Ignatius Village in Region Nine
(9).

Her business centres around indigenous craft items such as clothing, jewelry and
hammocks from locally sourced sustainable materials. The Head of State was impressed
specifically, with the quality of the hammocks and encouraged the businesswoman to
continue to make exceptional products as a true representation of the initiative and
culture of Guyanese people.

Joan explained that a single hammock takes a month to produce as everything is done
by hand from raw materials. The process involves her acquiring raw cotton which must
be cleaned and spun twice before being woven into hammocks.

As a family business, Joan is assisted by her two children, Sunita and Sunil who are 17 and 20 years old respectively.

In an invited comment, Winter said, “I feel so happy that the president
showed interest and took the time to talk with me and I’m also thankful for the
opportunity presented by the GMSA to be part of the expo” She also expressed her
interest in expanding her business as well as training others in her community to
capitalize on indigenous culture and craft.

President Ali made mention to the fact that the expo emanated the vision of the One
Guyana initiative with the businesses and products being highlighted and showcased.
He made a commitment to return and work along with the GMSA to build capacity in
ensuring local manufacturers have the ability to benefit from these engagements and
activities aiding the Government’s Transformative Development Agenda.

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