In his letter captioned “This investment promotion seminar was valuable and Minister Persaud’s presentation was very informative” (07.11.08) Mr Wesley Kirton wrote: “…from the feedback I got at the conclusion of the forum, a majority of the participants were satisfied with the information which Agri-culture Minister Robert Persaud shared…”.
However, I was not aware of any formal or informal poll conducted by anyone after the forum to gather the information to support Mr. Kirton’s conclusion. This feel-good assessment is one of the main reasons the good effort by the Guyana government to promote investment in Guyana will turn out to be a social gathering rather than a results-oriented seminar.
I recognize Mr. Kirton may have attended numerous investment promotion presentations, but differ with his view that Minister Robert Persaud’s presentation was world class. While I did not expect a “flowery” speech from Robert Persaud, I expected a persuasive and convincing speech to encourage me to invest in Guy-ana. Minister Persaud’s Power Point presentation was a rehash of a booklet given to the attendees. This is the improper use of technology and drew the audience further away from a not-so-poised and monotone speaker in the darkened auditorium.
Minister Robert Persaud promised to meet with a foreign businessman (whose efforts to invest in Guyana during the Hoyte administration were unsuccessful) after the presentation. (The name of the businessman and his business, his address and phone number have been provided by the writer).
According to this businessman, the promised meeting did not materialize. This particular businessman owns a com-pany which supplies Wal-Mart, Publix, Winn-Dixie supermarkets and others in the United States and could have been helpful in getting Guyana’s produce on the shelves of major American supermarkets. While Robert Persaud’s response was “professional”, he did not keep his promise to meet one of the most viable investors who attended the forum.
I agree with Wesley Kirton that presentations by Mr Peter Hubbard, USAID Mission Director in Guyana and Mr Carl Larkins, Chief of Party to GTIS were informative. These folks are diplomats and are implementing programmes by the United States government — trying to wean countries like Guyana away from dependency to economic progress.
I would like to see Guyana flourish economically. In the global economy where countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador are vying for investment funds to expand agriculture, Guyana has to raise the bar and seek assistance from professional marketing firms to plan and execute its invest-ment presentations to achieve quantifi-able results instead of Mr Wesley Kirton’s subjective conclusion of success.