Guyanese Private Sector condemns ‘anti-investment’ advert

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Eddie Boyer - Private Sector Commission Chairman

An advertisement appearing in two privately owned Guyanese newspapers that coincided with the convergence of hundreds of oil and gas executives in the country for the opening of the inaugural International Petroleum Exhibition & Summit (GIPEX), has been roundly rejected as anti-national and disturbing.

Speaking on the sidelines of GIPEX 2018, Private Sector Commission Chairman, Eddie Boyer, on Thursday rejected the publication that stated; ‘Investors beware, go invest elsewhere’. Mr. Boyer said the Guyanese business community “could never support any company or newspaper publishing something that is detrimental to investment.”

According to the PSC Chairman, “as far as I am concerned whoever placed that ad is anti-national, be it a local or foreign company – it is very disturbing.”

Boyer said, given the amount “of investors we have in country today…we are concerned with that kind of negativity.”

In a direct appeal to those potential investors in Guyana looking to network with local companies for business opportunities, Boyer said, “…we are encouraging business…we have stated our policies about what we expect; transparent business, the accountability and the regulatory framework in oil and gas.”

Lashing out at those that financed the publication of the “disturbing advertisement” Boyer said freedom of expression comes with responsibilities.

“That is not freedom of expression when you are going to go anti-national…You have a problem with GO-Invest (Guyana Office for Investment) or any other agency” those persons should address the matter frontally.

“If you have a problem with GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) you don’t say you are not going to pay your taxes, it is nonsensical,” the PSC Chairman stated.

Meanwhile, Owen Verwey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GO-Invest, the agency targeted in the advertisement, said, “While democracy is good in most societies, where do we draw the line between democracy and something that harm yourself or harm others that are associated with you.”

He said all efforts must be made to ensure grievances “… are not dealt with in the way it was dealt with in this case that puts a negative spin on the economy, especially at a time when there are lots of activity in investment potential and the benefits for the local economy…I think that is quite negative.”

The views expressed by the GO-Invest CEO and Private Sector Commission Chairman comes on the heels of similar condemnations expressed by Government Minsters, stakeholders and sections of the Guyanese society.