With just three clear shopping days remaining before Christmas, Police are increasing their presence on the nation’s roads, especially at strategic points in the capital city. However, with increasing reports of carjackings, many Guyanese, especially those in the business sector, are showing signs of apprehension, which could reduce confidence in the economy.This was according to Private Sector stakeholder, Ramesh Dookhoo, who in a recent interview with Guyana Times, condemned the ever-increasing practice,Private sector stakeholder Ramesh Dookhoosaying many locals and even some foreigners have reason to be fearful.“There’s a huge state of apprehension in the business community; people are afraid for their lives and that apprehension has moved to normal middle-class owners of vehicles,” he noted.Just recently, ex-Policeman Rawle Alexander was promptly detained after he attempted to steal a Toyota Carina 212 car belonging to a Police Constable but failed when he crashed the vehicle a short distance away. In another attack, armed hijackers drove off in a motorcar carrying a sleeping child and tossed the young girl after they realised she was in the vehicle. Dookhoo deemed these acts as “animalistic”.“The girl was thrown out of the vehicle in a very callous and ruthless manner and I am not sure what is driving and causing this level of animalistic behaviour that has suddenly taken over,” he stated.Commenting on the increased spate of robberies, Dookhoo, a former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), observed that shoppers should be more cautions, go out in pairs and try to be more careful when returning home. Police last week disclosed that there have been 25 cases of carjackings in the past seven months.Police A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander Marlon Chapman on Tuesday announced that the Police Force has recorded some success in cracking down on such cases.Chapman said “One of major concerns in the Division is the offence of robbery under arms where vehicles are being stolen and I am pleased to inform you that we have made some success thus far.”He gave all assurances that the gang will be dismantled. Earlier this year, the Guyana Police Force had issued a warning, particularly to taxi drivers operating Toyota Premio and Allion motorcars, signalling that there is a plan to attack and relive the motorists of their vehicles. The Force has said a multi-agency approach is being ironed out to allow for investigators to be armed with the necessary tools and information on specifications so as to narrow in on suspects and ultimately recover the stolen cars. (Shemuel Fanfair)
Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who is tasked with responsibility for tourism, has admitted that there was a grave need for more training in the hospitality sector in order to bring more tourists to the country.Gaskin told Guyana Times during a recent interview that although efforts were being made to increase the number of airlines serving the country, persons who make direct contact with visitors should be properly trained.The Minister made specific reference to hotel receptionists as well as minibus and taxi drivers.Business Minister Dominic Gaskin“We need more airlifts, but that is being attended to and we are getting people coming. Our visitor arrival is increasing, but I think what we need though is a lot more training in some of the hospitality sectors as well as the transportation sector so that the visitor experience is one that they would want to recommend,” he said.Gaskin added, “I think a lot of work has to be done in the services sector whether it is restaurant, hotels, minibus, taxis, even retail, because we want to give them an experience that reflects our seriousness about tourism and if you don’t have good service, you not gonna get return visitors”.According to him, the Ministry has been conducting training for some hotel personnel while the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is working on a new programme which will ensure more persons are trained in this regard.“I think what we are focusing on now is … a particular training programme that involves certification and we are trying to get the GTA trainers trained so that they can actually do the training themselves and certification,” he noted.Moreover, Gaskin explained that the new programme would allow the Ministry to train and certify persons to an internationally recognised standard.The Minister was keen to note that although he hoped for this programme to be operational before year end, it does not mean that other training sessions would discontinue.Guyana was recently named the number one “Best of Ecotourism” destination in the world. The award was presented to Guyana at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) global travel trade fair in Berlin, Germany – the world’s largest tourism trade fair.The second annual “Best of Top 100” Awards is a selection of the finest top 100 destinations selected by a panel of experts, who reviewed sustainability success stories submitted by destinations worldwide.The newly-created “Best of Ecotourism” category was added in 2019 and puts Guyana up against very well-known and long-established ecotourism destinations, such as Sierra Gorda in Mexico, Tmatboey in Cambodia, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.Back in December last year during budgetary debates, Gaskin boasted of a 17 per cent increase in visitor arrivals up to September, when compared with figures for the same period last year.The Minister pointed out that apart from the two major agricultural products which are rice and sugar, tourism brings in the highest amount of foreign earnings while also providing opportunities for young Guyanese.Recognising the importance of the sector, Gaskin said the Ministry increased the budget allocation to the GTA from $123 million in 2014 to over $300 million in 2019.He explained that the GTA and the Department of Tourism would receive budgetary allocations of $305 million and $93 million respectively.