US$60M machine shop and pipe yard to create 500 jobs at Enmore
By Kurt Campbell
The Enmore sugar packaging plant on the East Coast of Demerara is being converted into a state-of-the-art machine shop and pipe yard to service the oil and gas industry and will create some 500 jobs, the investors in the project announced on Wednesday.
The project, which will see an eventual investment of US$60 million, is a joint-venture between Guysons Engineering and U.S owned K.B Industries Inc., which have formed the company GK+B, with the Guyanese company as the majority shareholder.
The company will utilize some 55 acres of land for the project which will offer tubular goods, premium threading and provide accessory services and manufacturing solutions.
“GKB is committed to the Government of Guyana’s vision to build local capacity within the framework of Guyana’s local content legislation,” said Faizal Khan, Chief Executive of GK+B. The company announced the project at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.
By the end of 2022, a total of 150 jobs will be created for residents of Enmore and other villages along the East Coast corridor. The other hundreds of jobs will open within the next three to five years.
The company aims to develop certified training programmes, with the goal of having skilled and qualified employees, saying it is committed to retraining sugar workers.
“Our goal is to equip them with the necessary tools that will help to flourish their skills and services and have it regenerated back into the development of Guyana,” said Nick Becnel, head of sales for K+B Industries.
The packaging plant was closed after the previous government shut down the Enmore sugar estate, forcing hundreds out of work.
Jenny Shaw, an Enmore resident, said the investment deal proves that “indeed better days are here.”
Addressing President Dr Irfaan Ali, Shaw said: “Thank you for keeping your promises and looking out for your people.”
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, who spoke during the event, said the announcement was a manifestation of the government’s commitment it gave during the campaign in the run-up to the 2020 elections.
“We would like to see this multiplied and replicated many times over.”
“It is us righting the grave wrong done to sugar-producing communities in Guyana and Enmore felt the brunt of it when the sugar industry was closed in the manner it was done,” Singh said while positing that the investment in Enmore was not by accident or chance.
He also announced the operationalisation of a call center in Enmore in the coming months which will add another 300 – 500 jobs for residents along the East Coast.
Meanwhile, President Ali said persons must now be positioned to take advantage of these opportunities as he talked up the training that will be done to ensure that persons are able to benefit from these highly skilled jobs.
“The company will commence this process almost immediately to ensure that persons are trained and ready to take up jobs.”
“When we spoke about 50, 000 jobs in the campaign it was not fallacy it was an understanding of what would happen… Guyana is open for business and we only ask that you bring along the local population with you,” the President said.
Dr. Ali explained that the East Coast has seen a growing population in recent years and said the infrastructure will be created to support what is happening both residentially and industrially.