President Donald Ramotar sees the minority government in the 65-seat National Assembly as a tool that could be used to build the trust that for decades has been elusive among politicians and he hopes the opposition would stick to deals when they are struck so that the spinoff will positively affect the business community.
Addressing the 2011 George-town Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) Annual Awards Dinner held on Friday night at the Pegasus Hotel, Ramotar said he hoped the new political environment would force the political parties to develop trust.
“In my view there is really no shortcut to building trust than working together and maybe it has eluded us in the past because we always did not have the necessity of working together,” he said.
He wants his PPP/C along with the opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) to knock heads together in cooperating on common areas in their campaign manifestos through a spirit of mature compromise. Ramotar said the only condition he was asking is that the opposition parties do not back-peddle from agreements reached.
The President told the business leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and government ministers that a stable political environment is key to a favourable investment climate such as is being seen in the areas of mining for gold, diamond and manganese as well as oil exploration by Repsol and CGX Energy.
In the weeks running up to the general election, Ramotar had told the business community that the PPP/C had experienced bad faith with the PNCR, the major partner in APNU, in the allocation of seats in Region Four after the 2006 general election.
He added that almost immediately after he was declared President in the November 28 general and regional elections, he and leaders of APNU and the AFC held a first round of talks on forging cooperation in the light of the PPP/C garnering 32 seats and the combined opposition holding on to the 33 others. Those talks are still continuing and little details are being provided. APNU and AFC have been also holding discussions on their parliamentary agenda.
The President added that speaking from a futuristic standpoint, while being the optimist he is, he foresees Guyana’s business sector booming in the near future due to the many investment deals sealed and those in the negotiation stages. This coupled with advances in petroleum exploration, hydropower, and Guyana’s thriving gold and mining sectors could see this country surpass many of its regional counterparts in overall development.
To this end he noted to whom much is given much is required further explaining that while economic development and job growth go hand in hand Guyana will then be tasked to expand its technical and service industries to meet the demands created. He charged Guyanese with beginning preparation for “Guyana’s steady move upward.”
Meanwhile the evening saw the GCCI distribute awards in nine categories. The Lifetime Achieve-ment Award was given to Dr Yesu Persaud of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). The GCCI’s Long Service Award was bestowed on John Fernandes Limited. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GG&MC) was endowed with the Public Service Award of Excellence. The Corporate Citizenship Award went to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T). The Young Business Executive award went to President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vish Durga. The Award for Innovation was given to Impressions Advertising Agency. The GCCI’s President’s Award was bestowed on BK Internation-al. Alphonso and Sons received the Business of the Year Award and the Chamber Award went to Shanti Persaud. Certificates were also presented to nominees. Special door prizes were also won. Former commerce minister Manniram Prashad was one of the door prize winners but in an act of goodwill relinquished it paving the way for another person to collect same.