Guyana business group tells US EXIM bank detractors of gas project do not represent majority

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In a strongly worded letter addressed to Reta Jo Lewis, President/Chairperson of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) expressed its unwavering support for Guyana’s Gas-to-Energy project.

The GCCI commended the government’s initiative to seek funding from the U.S. EXIM Bank for the project. It is poised to revolutionize Guyana’s energy landscape, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting a less polluting energy mix.

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Highlighting the potential impact, the GCCI stated, “This project is anticipated to reduce electricity cost by approximately 50% – a material change in the cost of electricity for Guyanese citizens and enterprises alike.” The Chamber sees the initiative as a catalyst for economic growth, enhanced energy security, and sustainable development in the Western Hemisphere.

Expressing concern and condemnation, the GCCI addressed attempts by a “minority” to discredit the project and discourage the EXIM Bank from providing financial support. 

The GCCI said it is disheartened by the vilification of a project that holds significant potential benefits for the nation and its citizens.

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“We are appalled at missives penned requesting that the loan to fund the initiative be blocked,” the GCCI declared. While acknowledging the importance of public discourse and differing opinions, the Chamber posited that dissenting voices do not reflect the interests of the business community in Guyana.

The Chamber reiterated its commitment to supporting any project that helps lower the cost of electricity, stating, “The GCCI will always be vocal [against] efforts to stymy the development of Guyana, especially those which align with the best interest of Guyana’s economic growth and the aspirations of its people.”

Activists Elizabeth Deane-Hughes, Vanda Radzik, and international lawyer Melinda Janki are attempting to block funding for the Gas-to-Energy project from the U.S. EXIM Bank. 

Janki reportedly wrote a letter to the financial institution on behalf of Hughes and Radzik on Jan. 12 requesting that it withhold the US$660 million loan Guyana requested to offset costs relating to the project.

The Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, branded them “hopelessly misguided.” He remains optimistic that the loan will be approved. In the interim, he said that Guyana can fund the project using bridge financing

Hughes and Radzik alongside Janki have been at the forefront of anti-oil litigation branded by government as attempts to stymie development in Guyana.

The activists were branded obstructionists by Guyana’s Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, and the head of the Gas-to-Energy Task Force, Winston Brassington, last year when they mounted a case to challenge an environmental permit granted to ExxonMobil for the pipeline.

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