President Dr. Irfaan Ali says that the government hopes to empower more persons with disabilities and provide greater job opportunities for them, and in doing so, he believes they can support the country’s growing fresh flower industry.
The President, during a recent visit to the various construction sites at Palmyra, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), said that the forthcoming business centre for persons with disabilities promises a new approach to empowering this vulnerable growth.
This project is an initiative of First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali.
And President Ali talked up the facility’s design, highlighting the keen focus on making the building as accessible as possible for persons with various types of disabilities.
Beyond that, he said the government wants to provide additional employment and income-generating opportunities to the individuals set to use the facility.
“One of the things that we want to do to support the centre also is we’re going to have horticulture stations close by with fresh flowers so that they can actually do fresh flowers here for this region,” he told reporters and regional officials.
Members of the regional private sector told the President that all of Region Six’s flowers are sourced from Georgetown. With this new venture, however, the region’s flower demand can be satisfied from Palmyra.
“That is an example of the type of business opportunities that we are looking at,” the President said.
It is important to note that Guyana recently started the cultivation of fresh roses. This venture has been led by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).
During the recently-concluded 2023 Budget Debate, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha told other lawmakers that many single mothers are involved in the growth of about 400 fresh roses weekly. By the end of February, that figure should double.
With production steadily increasing, the planters are all projected to earn $20 million annually.
But this is not the only venture the President believes persons with disabilities can get involved in.
Next door to the Palmyra business centre is a new government call centre. This facility is under construction and should be completed by March. Once operational, Dr. Ali said 600 people will be employed – 200 working in one of three shifts.
He, however, believes that persons with disabilities can man a new government call centre system wherein they take and, in some cases, respond to complaints for the government.
This is not a finalised plan, but it is part of what the President believes are “out-of-the-box” ideas to help empower vulnerable groups of people.