Heritage Foundation did not use Ram & McRae as a ‘source’ for the economic freedom index

Dear Editor,

There seems to be a trend to unjustly rank ‘small economy’ countries by many international organisations.  On many occasions, the international organizations’ reports are conducted to achieve a certain narrow agenda, and in most cases, not for the benefit of the country which is the subject of the study.  Guyana was ranked unfavourably in the Trafficking in Persons report; Guyana has been placed on the highest human trafficking index, even though there have only been two confirmed cases. I wish to point out that in order to position a country on the third tier, there must be “100 documented cases.”

The Government of Guyana’s efforts to unearth any existing evidence of the “100 documented cases” is a matter of transparency and has been futile.

On another international organization’s report, Guyana recently received an economic freedom score of 48.4 from the Heritage Foundation, ranking Guyana at 155 out of the 183 nations surveyed.

These rankings are based on the results of a few selected interviews that are predisposed to partisanship, and lack plausible sources.  These international reports carry a constricted agenda, and so should not be read as scriptural; they should be read as a ploy to impair a country’s image.

The recycling of these reports will have a devastating impact on developing countries and will hamper many from obtaining loans for the development of their economies, since these funding organizations insist on certain prerequisites to be achieved by developing countries in order for them to be eligible for loans.

It should be noted that no one from the Heritage Foundation has ever set foot in Guyana; however, this organization encumbered Guyana with a prejudicial ranking.  I must point out that the Heritage Foundation sources were Christopher Ram and another member of staff from his auditing firm (Ram and McRae), who are critics of the government, who carry biases and do not report justly, since their aim is to score political points and gain recognition.

Why should we sit back and accept these reports?

There is no evidence to support the findings of these assessments, as they are biased and generalized.

And these reports are supportive of western interests.

It is unfair that international funding organizations use these flawed reports, since they do not represent a true reflection of Guyana’s economy, and the blemished reports do not separate fact from fiction.

Yours faithfully,
Marissa Lowden

Editor’s note

We sent a copy of this letter to Mr Rakesh Latchana of Ram & McRae for any comments he wished to make and received the following response:

“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter by Ms Marissa Lowden in which she sought to associate Mr Christopher Ram and another member of staff of Ram & McRae with the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom. Ms Lowden is very irresponsible in not seeking to confirm from Ram & McRae whether any of its partners or staff were used as a “source” by the Heritage Foundation. Such claims were previously made in a GINA release of January 19, 2009 which incorrectly quoted the President as making the same association.

I wish to confirm that at no time was Ram & McRae or its partners or staff consulted by the Heritage Foundation and/or the Wall Street Journal in their compilation of the Index. We have for example noted several errors in the publication which if corrected may result in an even lower ranking for Guyana.

“The Index, including the methodology used in its compilation, can be downloaded from www.heritage.org and notes the sources of information. It should also be noted that publications of some of the very international funding organisations to which Ms Lowden has appealed were included in the list of sources.

“Finally, I wish to suggest that Ms Lowden read the report and seek to understand the statements made in relation to Guyana. She would then be in a position to make constructive recommendations to the Government on how the difficulties (perceived or actual) could be remedied and consequently the ranking improved.”

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