Thousands to benefit as Demerara Bank turns sod for new $150M branch at Leonora

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Demerara Bank, Guyana’s only indigenous bank, will construct a new branch at Leonora on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD)- a move that is expected to provide thousands of people with more accessible banking services.

The construction of this bank should be completed in about 18 months’ time. According to the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Pravichandra Dave, it is expected to cost between $150 to $160 million.

With plans to provide the most modern services to customers, Dave said thousands are poised to benefit from more accessible services, instead of travelling to Parika, Vreed-en-Hoop or Georgetown.

“It is going to serve 75,000 people in this area.

“There is a big development that is going to take place,” Dave also said at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony held at the Leonora site.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali, who spoke at that ceremony, was keen on noting that the establishment of this new branch was not only a financially-smart move, but is one that will bolster the wider development of the region.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (fifth from left), Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh (fourth from left), alongside representatives of Demerara Bank and other officials at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Bank’s Leonora location (Photo: Avidesh Narine/ News Room/ July 14, 2022)

Already, Leonora is benefitting from private investments in a new mall and entertainment centre, hospital and housing scheme.

The government is also steaming ahead with the establishment of the Wales Development Authority on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD), which will see the creation of Guyana’s first gas-to-shore project that will harness natural gas produced in oil fields offshore to generate cheaper electricity.

New infrastructural works, including the creation of the new Demerara River crossing and a new four-lane highway from Schoonord to Crane, are also expected.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (right) in conversation with Demerara Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Pravichandra Dave (Photo: Avidesh Narine/ News Room/ July 14, 2022)

“The scale of development is changing rapidly.

“… this investment with everything else that is happening around here will create a modern economic hub that will create thousands of jobs,” the Guyanese Head of State posited.

With the expected development, however, Dr. Ali cautioned the general public that the demand for housing and services will skyrocket. But if businesses capitalise on that, he reasoned that they should be able to benefit from significant, new commercial activities.

Similarly, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh hailed the “strategic choice” Demerara Bank made in choosing a location for its forthcoming branch.

He also called on Demerara Bank and other financial institutions operating in Guyana to provide readily- accessible and affordable financing to help businesses expand and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

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