Political stalemate in National Assembly scaring away investors – GCCI president (GuyanaTimes Article)
Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Clinton Urling said the ongoing political impasse in the National Assembly is significantly affecting the national economy as it is “scaring away investors”.
This, he noted could pose a threat to the local business community. Urling raised these concerns on Friday evening as the GCCI launched its 2013/2014 Business Directory Magazine at the Pegasus Hotel.
He said the uncompromising stance that prevails between government and the combined parliamentary opposition does not bode well for international transactions and can hurt the country’s international ratings.
“I recently met with an ambassador who is not based in Guyana but has responsibility for Guyana, who said to me that his investors… they’re now reconsidering and would be worried whether to invest in Guyana because of the political uncertainty that exists.”
As such, he charged politicians to explore ways in which they can meet a political consensus and called on civil society to support the chamber in its call for agreement by politicians for projects of national interest.
“I want to urge all the parliamentarians to review legislation that was presented in Parliament, review those legislation on merit and worthiness and also ensure that it meets the threshold with transparency and accountability,” he said.
He added: “Let’s get on with the business of local government elections… establishing the Integrity Commission… establishing the Ombudsman Office… establishing the Procurement Commission… [and] passing and legislating the anti- money laundering and terrorism bills.”
He also urged President Donald Ramotar to move swiftly in assenting to the four local government bills which have been passed in the National Assembly.
Urling also voiced concerns regarding what seems to be an upsurge in widespread criminal activity here.
Urling said while many are calling for the resignation of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, he does not believe such a move will turn around the crime situation.
“I don’t believe that getting rid of Rohee you will see the 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,” he reasoned.
The Guyana Police Force, he pointed out, should be held responsible, since it is responsible to protect the country’s people.
Meanwhile, delving into the specifics of the magazine, the GCCI president said the publication helps businesses listed to gain enhanced marketing appeal and targets local and international markets.
Referring to the cover of the magazine, Urling said it symbolises the evolving face and architecture of Georgetown.
“The cover is the perfect crystallisation of the past and cultural with the contemporary and commercial. We have the historic Georgetown Cathedral juxtaposed with the new and ultra New Building Society building,” Urling explained.
The cover of the 2013/2014 Business Directory Magazine was unveiled by acting President Samuel Hinds and Urling in front of GCCI members and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, addressing stakeholders at the event, second secretary and head of the Trade Section of the European Union Delegation to Guyana Joachaim Vedsted Jakobsen, said Guyana needs to climb the value chain, noting that current exports are dominated by commodities with low value added status.
“We always hear Guyana as the land of opportunities with vast land and natural resources and the location linking the Caribbean with South America. This is true but Guyana cannot continue to be a land of potential, it has to be a land where opportunities are taken and realised,” he noted.