President David Granger: I started working with this company over twenty-two years ago, so I could write the history of this company because I started under them. This used to be a private property but what has happened over the years as you can see, is an enterprise which started small like a plant, and grew up and started to blossom and started to grow fruit and now as Mr. Fazil Hakh has said, it is not only the oldest, but one of the finest printing companies in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. [Applause.]
I don’t know if I can get a rebate for all of the adverting I have done, but some of these books have gone across the continents of the earth. [Laughter.]
In the United States, in South America, in the Caribbean and it shows not my work, but the quality of work that this company, F and Printing Establishment, can do.
I would like to say that in Guyana small businesses are more plentiful and they contribute more to the economy than the big businesses. In fact, worldwide, 95% of the businesses are small and they employ 60% of people all around the world. So while there might be a few big corporations, in fact the small businesses sustain the economy.
F and H started out small and poor, but the things which have built F and over the years first of all, quality. If Fazil sees something going wrong, he’ll stop and put it right. Fazil would never send bad quality work to me and I think that was a hallmark of his management of this company, that his work itself was an advertisement.
There were times when people from French Guiana would send me an email asking me which country Guyana Review was printed in because they inquired about the quality. The second thing I have learned about this company is about the loyalty of its staff. People I see today were here ten, fifteen years ago, like Dovey. The company is loyal to its staff and the staff is loyal to the company. I think that’s how it builds a spirit, a family spirit. Sometimes you go by a company, you see people picketing on the roads, protest, strike, letters to the editor, but I can say that over the last twenty-two years I have not experienced that at F and H.
So, the loyalty is not only internal but it comes externally as well because when you are a businessman and you get good quality work you come back. So the company sells itself by not short-changing its customers, by delivering quality and I think that is one of the reasons why, from year to year, customers keep coming back. So, these are some of the qualities that I have discovered over my long familiarity.
I have seen this company grow. I have seen this company grow from the simple production to advanced technology. And why did this company grow, apart from the points I mentioned about the loyalty and quality of work is the fact that the company invested in technology. You know some people when they get a few million dollars, they build a house in Miami and the company run down; people complain about the leaks, they complain about the water, they complain about all sorts of things, but the man is living overseas. But what has happened over the years is this company invested in technology and that is the most important thing you have to remember when running an enterprise, that you have to give to it. You have to invest if you are to get a bigger profit.
The other thing is that you have to pay attention to innovation. I was very happy years ago when I was a more frequent visitor. Every now and then you would see a photograph of Fazil with a visitor’s card because he had been to some exhibition or some fair in some foreign country so every year he was keeping himself abreast with technology. He wasn’t going on holiday alone, I know he goes on holiday but he was going to see what his competitors were doing and getting the best equipment because the competition was not only internally to keep ahead of the game but also externally, to make sure that he was always innovative. If this was not an innovative company we’d still be using that old machine there but over the years he kept getting better and better equipment and the company continued not only to invest but also to innovate and the third thing too is information technology.
Without information we’ll stagnate, and this company has invested in information technology and through that information technology we’ll get better access to the markets. We’ll know what the markets are producing, we’ll know what the markets are demanding and we can always give the customer the quality he or she demands. So these are some of the lessons I have learnt from F and H; these are some of the lessons that F and H can teach the corporate community in Guyana. Some people complain, some people groan, some people bellyache but other people get on with the business of developing Guyana. The Hakhs could have migrated but they stayed to invest, to innovate and to introduce new information technology.
So I’d like to congratulate Fazil and Hazim particularly, and of course Nalini and Mr Gaspar and other people who supported this company over the years, produced quality products which could have been produced anywhere, America, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago. It shows you what Guyana can do; it shows you what Guyana is capable of.
I know Mr. Hakh made a suggestion, of course I’m a member of the Caribbean Community so I will not respond to that suggestion now, but the quality of our work is what will put Guyana ahead of the competition. I have printed products in other countries and I always came back home because of the quality; you did not have to run to Trinidad and Barbados for the quality when you can get that quality here.
So I would like to congratulate the staff of F and H, three dozen plus one, for their loyalty and the quality of what they have produced over the years. I’d like to congratulate Fazil and Hazim and Nalini for running an enterprise of which all Guyanese can be proud and I’d like to wish the company all the best and to ask God’s blessing on this enterprise. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure being here.