Caribbean Clothing Limited is a full-service garment manufacturer in Georgetown, Guyana. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the South American country, and the world grappled with the economic and social effects, the company was forced to cut its workforce and wind down its operations.
Brooke Glasford, Operation Manager for the company, in a recent interview with ExxonMobil’s RippleEffect, explained that the company had to let go of approximately 30 percent of its staff. However, in January 2021, Caribbean Clothing Limited became one of two Guyanese companies to secure a contract from ExxonMobil Guyana in collaboration with SBM Offshore, to manufacture 2,000 coveralls for construction workers working on the Prosperity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in Singapore. The overalls are being used by workers of ExxonMobil, SBM Offshore and Dyna-Mac.
“Bidding for and winning the Payara Project for ExxonMobil Guyana and SBM Offshore was an incredible opportunity for us. Because of the pandemic, we had to lay off about 30 percent of our staff and with this bid, we were able to bring them back on…,” Glasford stated. She explained that additional staff was also hired for this project.
“Because of that, we were able to meet our deadline and deliver all 1000 pieces last December. It was an incredible moment to see so many people from all over the world, wearing our uniforms. It was a proud moment for Caribbean Clothing and I really believe that it was a proud moment for Guyana as well,” she said.
According to the Operation Manager, the manufacturing company is deadline driven and focused on on-the-job training so that every staff member can be well rounded in their field. In this regard, she noted that the Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD), which provides valuable mentorship and procurement training to Guyanese businesses, has been an asset to the company.
“Regardless of what level an employee comes in at, they are able to learn and grow their skillsets here to match our quality assurance. Our relationship with the Centre has been a really incredible resource to tap into,” she stated. “We were really fortunate to sign up there really early, almost as soon as they had launched so working with ExxonMobil and SBM Offshore has really allowed us to increase our capacity.”
Glasford said this has allowed Caribbean Clothing Limited to reach out to more companies and hire more people. “That is what I consider to be a real ripple effect,” she stated.
During a simple ceremony held in January to hand over samples of the coveralls, Production Manager at ExxonMobil Guyana, Mike Ryan, said that the award of the contract serves as a great example of how Guyanese businesses continue to grow and build capacity as the country’s oil and gas sector expands.
“As more projects come online, there will be more opportunities for Guyanese companies. There is a lot of expertise here in Guyana and so we are looking forward to people pushing the limits of what they are capable of doing and helping us to responsibly develop Guyana’s resources,” he said.
At the same event, Michiel Heuven, SBM Offshore’s Regional Head of Operations, North America and the Caribbean, said the company looked at the different services, which it believes can be developed in Guyana and has been capitalizing on those.
“The coveralls are a very good example where we felt we could bring the specifications required in the oil and gas industry and the specifications within SBM Offshore over into Guyana and work together with local partners,” he added.
Caribbean Clothing Limited is one of two Guyanese companies, the other being Denmor Garments Manufacturers Inc., that have secured contracts to manufacture coveralls for the Prosperity FPSO project.
The vessel is being built for the Payara Development, which is expected to begin operations in 2024 offshore Guyana.