First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, yesterday, attended the opening ceremony of the Arts and Tourism Extravaganza – Arts and Craft Exhibition at the Roraima Duke Lodge, Kingston. The event is a collaborative effort between the Guyana Creative Business Co-op Society (GCBCS) and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG).
Speaking at the ceremony the First Lady emphasised the value of this exhibition noting Guyana’s significant creative industry potential. “This exhibition can serve to unleash and marshal the creative potential that lies in our homes and organisations, in the cities and in the countryside, on the coast and in the hinterland, in our savannahs and on the mountain tops,” Mrs. Granger said.
The First Lady noted with satisfaction that artists are beginning to recognise that they can be important drivers of economic growth. “The Tourism and Hospitality Association [of Guyana] must also be praised for their vision in recognising that the combination of their services and products with the products of our craftsmen and women can only enhance the Guyana brand in the very competitive tourism sector. This collaboration of the GCBCS and THAG has the potential to not only establish lucrative networks, but also lead to the growth and strengthening of these sectors through the enhancement and placement of our unique products in their natural setting,” Mrs. Granger said.
Speaking to the exhibitors, the First Lady said that if they are to be successful business owners, they must understand the importance of maintaining production deadlines. This, she said would allow them to gain and maintain a reputation of quality and reliability that would allow them to continue to grow in their business.
President of the GCBCS, Mr. Nicholas Young, said that the exhibition provides a network for international agencies to create an open communication line with local entrepreneurs in an effort to better market their crafts. “Our Society basically governs over anything creative… We are still to establish the extent to which we wish to expand and we are happy to be involved in this aspect of it,” Mr. Young said.
Ms. Andrea De Caires, the President of THAG, noted that since the company came into existence 25 years ago, they have strived to improve the tourism industry in Guyana. “The best way you can learn about [someone’s] culture is through their art; whether its music or dance or food. I think the best gift you can give a tourist are the memories that they can take home…and THAG is committed to working with you, and to helping you. We support you completely and we will continue to do so,” Ms. De Caires said.
The exhibition, which is expected to last until Sunday March 19, 2017 includes producers of handmade sculptures, decorative jewellery, locally made bath soaps and honey, scarfs, paintings and many other items.
Exhibitors were pleased with the initiative by the GCBCS and THAG to organise the exhibition. Ms. Vanessa Wallerson, who represented the Women’s Agro-Processors Development Network, said, “You’re bringing people together, showcasing stuff that they’re doing. This is a great initiative. I would really like to ask people to buy local, support your local people.”
Meanwhile Ms. Colita Ishmile-Mohamed of CIM exotic designs said, “The organisations coming together is doing well for the craft persons and it’s giving us an opportunity to see what everyone has to offer and Guyanese will have more appreciation for what we have.”
Members of the Women’s Agro-Processors Development Network displaying their products
A display of locally made herbal soaps
Pottery on display
First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger and Ms. Andrea De Caires, President of Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) examining some of the products on display at the exhibition
First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger delivering remarks