The building of strong partnerships and need for robust investment across a number of sectors in Guyana were underscored on Friday at the launch of the Guyana-Canada Chamber of Commerce held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, on the outskirts of Georgetown and live streamed via the internet.
In her last public address in the new oil producing nation, Canada’s outgoing High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee implored the country not to resist investment, but rather, be mindful of who it partners with. She said what Guyana lacks is a skilled and sizeable labour force to benefit from the coming “explosive” economic growth.
“You are already witnessing an influx of global political leaders and investors who want to do business in Guyana. Get ready!” the High Commissioner stated. “This is just the beginning.”
She added that while it is reasonable that foreign investors would want to profit from Guyana’s success, it is equally critical that they contribute to the country’s development for the benefit of Guyanese citizens.
“From what I have witnessed with how your government is interacting with Canadian investors, I can personally attest that your government is insisting that external investors train and employ Guyanese citizens and is extracting maximum benefits for Guyana,” the High Commissioner told those gathered.
Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali said in his address that his government remains strongly committed to creating an enabling environment for the development of businesses and will continue to strongly support investment, since the private sector is the true engine of growth.
“The Government of Guyana will not resist, but assist foreign investors,” Mr. Ali said. “There is no point in saying we are part of a global environment, of understanding we’re competing in a global environment, of understanding that we are part of a global network, but at the same time do not recognize that we are also part of global competition.”
The President said it is important to recognize that the South American country is now in the initial stages of building significant capacity, skills, technology, and capital and therefore would need to collaborate with external partners to move forward.
“So, it is very, very important that we build and collaborate with partners internationally,” Mr. Ali said. “Today, we are building and collaborating with Canada and this partnership must be to the mutual benefit of the investors, but more importantly, to the benefit of the country.”
The 24 Founding Members of the Chamber include Banks DIH Ltd., Caribbean Surgery Inc., CGX Energy Inc., Demerara Distillers Limited, Edward Beharry & Company Limited, Empire Plus Home and Commercial Inspection Services Inc., Gafsons Industries Limited, Go Logistics Inc., Gold Source Mines Inc., Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited, Guyana Goldfields Inc., Guysons Oil and Gas, High Commission of Canada to Guyana, International Development and Relief Foundation, JHI Associates, Inc., N&S Mattai & Company, NALICO/NAFICO, NSBOmega Guyana Inc., Panthera Solutions Inc., Precision Truck Lines Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank Guyana Inc., and Sterling Products Limited. With leading business minds from our Members on our Inaugural Board of Directors.