GCCI’s President, Clinton Urling’s Speech at the Launch of the 2nd Edition of the Business Directory for the year 2013/2014

EU is world’s largest single market, with some 500 million consumers and Guyana share an economic partnership agreement (EPA) that benefits greatly our professionals, and private sector. Over the years the EU has been benevolent and generous partner to Guyana from the many years of preferential access to EU markets for our sugar to the current EDF funding under the auspices of the EPA…don’t let me steal joakaim thunder, he’ll go more in-depth during his presentation

 

Tonight as we celebrate and jubilate on the good and positive, it would be delinquent of me if I did not mention a few things that bother my colleagues & I in the private sector.

 

Local Government Elections

It has been nearly a month now since the four legislations that pave the way for local government elections were passed in Parliament. However, for many confounding, perplexing reasons, the President has not yet assented to those bills. The Chamber looks forward to those bills being assented to so that in 2014 we can finally see the return of local democracy in our beloved country, which has not occurred since 1994.

 

Political Impasse

Biggest challenge facing us is the same old impasse and uncompromising positions in parliament. We urge our parliamentarians to review legislation on merit and worthiness and meeting the thresholds of transparency and accountability. We cannot scare away international investors and or hurt our country sovereign financial ratings. Recently I met with an Ambassador who is not based in Guyana but has responsibility for Guyana who said to me that his country’s investors now would be worried to invest in Guyana because of the political uncertainty that is creating clouds darker than the ones preceding a tropical storm.

Establish an economic Council or work through the already established National Competitiveness Council of the National Competitiveness Strategy and create a list on national priority issues and negotiate and compromise one by one for the interest of Guyana.

I call on other civil society organisations to lend their voices support our call for an end to the protracted situation prevailing in Parliament.

We need our leaders to fix and not fight! Let’s get on with the business of local government elections, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Integrity Commission, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Ombudsman Office, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Procurement Commission and Let’s get on with the business of passing the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Bills.

 

Crime

The most pernicious and malignant threat, not only to the private sector but to our country as a whole, is the baneful crime situation

 

Many have been calling for the resignation of Minister Rohee, even the leader of the Opposition Mr. Granger has called out for organization like the Chamber to call for Rohee’s resignation. However, getting rid of Rohee will not solve the problem, your not going to see criminals shaking in their shoes saying ‘Hey, Rohee’s gone, we need to get our act together and not commit any crimes’, I don’t see that happening.”

What should be happening is that comments and criticisms should be directed to the agency designated to keeping us safe and that is the Guyana Police Force (GPF). The GPF is the execution agency as mandated by the statutes of Guyana to protect the citizens of Guyana.

What we should be hearing from opposition politicians and those in civil society is for government to give more resources and provide training opportunities for the GPF. It is about time that the government and the Ministry of Home Affairs walk the walk and stop the talking when it comes to the GPF. We cannot have officers working with low moral because of poor and inadequate equipment, low salaries, out of date training, among other and expect miracles from them. We need to look at physical improvements, operational and strategic improvements and personnel improvements from within the GPF.  We have to look at boosting the morale and motivating our police officers. We need, for example, to pay our police officers better. I personally recommend a 100% increase on current salaries to the police men and women tasked at providing protection for us.

 

Additionally, we also need to see leadership change from the top at the GPF. I have heard it privately from many quarters that there has to be leadership changes at the top of the GPL, I’m saying publicly that this is a position that I endorse. There are examples in the past where effective leadership change at the top of the GPF has resulted in increased effectiveness in the GPF.

However this must be done with the removal of the other structural impediments to the force’s efficacy… In a nutshell we need to get serious with providing more resources for physical, strategic and personnel improvements at the GPF along with changes at the top.

 

Business Directory

The publication highlights the products and services offered by our member businesses to both local and overseas consumers. It offers an opportunity for businesses listed to gain enhanced marketing and appeal for their products and services. It also affords consumers a list of reputable firms to choose from when making purchasing and selling decisions. Most of the companies listed are household names in Guyana and you can be assured of reliability and trust when dealing with them.

Mr. John Greene did this year’s cover story. It represents a perfect crystallization of the past and cultural with the contemporary and commercial. We have the historic Georgetown Cathedral Juxtapose with the new and ultra modern New Building Society. It symbolizes the evolving face and architecture of the City of Georgetown magnificently captured by Mr. Greene.

Without further tarry and suspension, ladies and gentlemen. I call on the Honorable Prime Minister to unveil the Business Directory 2013/14 Edition.