The emergence and fast-paced development of Guyana’s promising oil and gas sector has had a positive impact on and been a catalyst for international partnerships between local and foreign businesses. These partnerships are resulting in employment and capacity building opportunities for Guyanese. This was highlighted on Friday, December 4, when the Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce was launched in Georgetown at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Andrew Parsons–in his virtual remarks–said that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recognises the importance of becoming one of the founding members of the Chamber. “We view this as a very important step in solidifying the relationship of our two countries and between the business communities of both jurisdictions,” he said.
He further added, “Just in the last few years, majority Guyanese owned partnerships have been formed with Newfoundland and Labrador-based firms creating successful ventures that benefit both of our business communities.” He pointed to Pantera Solutions Inc. formed by Canada’s Crosby Group Limited and Farfan and Mendes Limited, out of Guyana. “This joint venture has hired and trained local residents and is delivering services to offshore Guyana,” he stated. Another example given was the formation of NSB Omega Guyana, between ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc. and NSB Omega. That Joint Venture is majority Guyanese and woman -owned technical service company providing workforce solutions for Guyana’s oil and gas industry. “Caron Hawco Group has joined with Sagacity Media to form Guyana Strategic Services, a joint venture offering consulting services targeting Guyana’s oil and gas sector,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of International Trade at Global Affairs Canada John. Hannaford noted that Guyana’s partnerships with Canada extend further than oil and gas, such as in areas of mining, agriculture, and the financial sector. The petroleum sector will only serve to increase these partnerships. “As Guyana grows as a major oil producer, Canada will remain by your side and further develop commercial partnerships while providing important capacity building,” Hannaford told the Chamber.
Meanwhile, outgoing Canadian High Commissioner, Lillian Chatterjee said that investors and foreign partners will continue to flood Guyana because of the growing opportunities emanating from Guyana’s multi-billion-barrel oil resources.
“With a projected 26 percent growth rate in 2020, Guyana will be the fastest growing economy in the world this year. In addition, it’s GDP of US$6.8 billion is expected to more than double in five years to exceed US$14 billion. Guyana’s rapid growth and need for goods and services provides opportunities for foreign direct investment.”
However, she pointed out that the country lacks a skilled and sizable labour force to benefit from the explosive growth that is coming.
These Canadian partnerships, she assured, will not result in an overwhelming Canadian expatriate workforce, but more opportunities for Guyanese. “We will not flood you with an influx of Canadian employees, we will provide Canadian expertise. But in order to have true partnership, Canadians will rely on training a skilled workforce in Guyana.”
Chatterjee also announced a merger of two major companies from Canada and Guyana, saying that the very large, influential Canadian private sector company has been an important jobs creator in Canada.