His Excellency the President
Honorable Prime Minister
Honorable Members of Parliament
Honorable Members of the Cabinet
Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Leaders of Private Sector Organisations
Members of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening and a hearty welcome to the Chamber’s signature event of the year our annual awards and gala dinner. It is a momentous and considerable honor to address you this evening as we gather to honor the best in Commerce and Industry in 2013. We also pay homage to an individual who over her lifetime has made a significant impact on the business sector in Guyana. We also give acknowledgement to the public sector agency and media house that have mostly facilitated and offered coverage, respectively, of the work of the Chamber in 2013.
The companies, agencies and individuals honored here this evening all performed with exemplary distinction and are deserving of the accolades and adulation’s bestowed up them this evening.
This year we do something different and we pay tribute and appreciation to the important contributions made to the development of the Chamber over the past four decades by honoring all the past presidents who are still here with us today.
Ladies and gentlemen, As the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry heads into its 125th year of existence, I have the distinct honor to say that we stand on the shoulders of giants and we drink from wells of opportunity that we did not dig. It is these gentlemen who are being honored today who paved the way for the current level of success and prominence that the Chamber is enjoying. Tonight’s conferral’s give thanks and appreciation to their sincere efforts of service to the Chamber directly and by extension the country as a whole.
Tonight, I want to assure all gathered here that the state of the Chamber has never been stronger and more robust. Today the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a highly recognizable, respected and vocal non- partisan champion of the interest of Guyana’s private sector and our nation as a whole. The Chamber seems to be everywhere these days; hardly a day goes by when we are not featured in the press one way or the other. Speaking of the media, who could forget the press coverage of the black eye and licking I got from a man 40 years my senior for the leadership of the PSC. The Guy throws a mean punch. Is Ronald Webster here tonight?
Even globally our presence is felt through our many publications such as the Business Guyana Investment magazine, The Business Directory, The Competitiveness Manifesto, and a very modern and up to date web-site, Facebook and YouTube presence.
On television, we have a weekly programme called the Chamber’s Business Review where we broadcast our training seminars and feature interviews of prominent individuals and professionals on various issues affecting and relating to private sector growth and development.
Our seminars and events continue to attract large number of audiences and we receive almost daily many requests from public, private and international organizations to collaborate on various events and initiatives.
Financially, the Chamber is one of the most, if not the most, self-sustainable civil society organization in the country. Due to the support of our members and initiatives of our various committees, the Chamber has been able to achieve record levels of income over the past few years and 2013 is shaping up to be the largest of them all. To that, please join me in extending a round of applause to our members and supporters.
This success has allowed the Chamber to be a staunch non-partisan advocate in favor of initiatives that enhance our country’s profile, competitiveness, and economic and social environment. This I promise you we will continue to do.
Guests here this evening, many are cynical about the future of our nation based on the current state of affairs. As overcast as it gets, we must not lose sight of our national motto of “One people, One Nation, One Destiny.” In order to achieve our individual interests, it requires collective action. “We are all caught in an inescapable web of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny” to choose the words of US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Junior. Tonight, I call on everyone here to recommit to the conviction of our national motto and work collectively to move our country forward to continued prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, I will not be verbose and prolix since we have a packed programme. However, I want to offer my congratulations to all the awardees tonight and I wish all of you here best wishes for a cheerful, festive and heartwarming holiday season and make sure you send my invitation to those splendid parties and cocktails. God bless, good evening and thank you.