By A. Bacchus – OilNOW
There’s a national song that I recited weekly in school, with a chorus that has over the years been used as a motto for quite a few movements— “Can we do it? Yes, we can.” I can recall belting out the line proudly, with my chin up and my voice loud as I stood during my school assemblies on Monday mornings. For anyone passing that auditorium, the echo of over 700 voices loudly repeating that line sounded like an army, ready to charge into battle and accept any challenge coming its way.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) appears to have manifested such a spirit in their pursuit of local content. The Chamber has the right idea of, ‘if anyone can do it, a Guyanese company can do it,’ and they have been approaching local content from every angle. Back in February this year, the GCCI launched the Guyana Energy Conference and Exhibition (GEC-X). Originally, it was planned for this month; however, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the event being postponed to February 14-15, 2022, next year. Why is this something to celebrate, you ask? This level of event has been held in Guyana in the past; however, they were organised by foreign companies. The GCCI with the knowledge that Guyanese companies are fully capable of successfully executing such events and their experience in organising such gatherings took the initiative to initiate the event.
What is even more commendable is the way the private sector has united for the execution of GEC-X. The Private Sector Commission (PSC), Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), (Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC), Region Three Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Guyana (AMCHAM), and the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry have all become integrally involved in this event.
Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer was the President of the GCCI when this event was conceived and launched. At the launch ceremony, he said that it was geared towards bringing some very “necessary conversations to the shores of Guyana.” According to Deygoo-Boyer, the GCCI “is an important partner in development for Guyana,” and the event does not have a profit motive as any surplus in earnings from the event will be plugged into the development of more capacity-building programmes. The Chamber has over the years been a strong proponent of local content development and has taken a slew of measures to ensure Guyanese businesses benefit from the emergence of oil and gas by creating networking and capacity building opportunities for members. Through a series of webinars on business development, engagements in the form of trade visits to the Chamber’s counterparts in Newfoundland, Canada and Aberdeen, Scotland, as well as participation in the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the GCCI has been successfully placing members on the path to becoming part of the industry’s supply chain.
Perhaps it is time that more local businesses take a page out of this organisation’s book, and look at every opportunity arising out of the sector—even the ones that are not as obvious—and capitalise on them.