Consider laws on merit – Urling urges MPs

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Clinton Urling has called on parliamentarians to review legislation on merit, transparency and accountability.

In a presentation at Friday’s launching of the second annual business directory at the Pegasus Hotel, Urling said that the uncompromising positions in Parliament remain a huge problem for the country.

“We urge our parliamentarians to review legislation on merit and worthiness and meeting the thresholds of transparency and accountability. We cannot scare away international investors and or hurt our country’s sovereign financial ratings”, Urling argued.

He said that he recently met with an Ambassador who is not based here but has responsibility for Guyana who said that his country’s investors would now be worried to invest in Guyana because of the political uncertainty that is “creating clouds darker than the ones preceding a tropical storm.”

The Amaila Falls Hydropower project collapsed because the major investor was unable to get all the parliamentary parties to declare their support for the deal. Analysts say that other investors will likely look at this as a cautionary tale and would be reluctant to commit to large investments for fear that the opposition-led Parliament could hold up deals.

Urling called for all sides to establish an economic council or work through the already established National Competitiveness Council of the National Competitiveness Strategy and fashion a list of national priorities and “negotiate and compromise one by one for the interest of Guyana.”

He urged  other civil society organisations to lend their voices in support of the call for an end to the protracted stalemate in Parliament.

“We need our leaders to fix and not fight! Let’s get on with the business of local government elections, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Integrity Commission, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Ombudsman Office, Let’s get on with the business of establishing the Procurement Commission and Let’s get on with the business of passing the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Bills,” Urling declared.

He pointed out that it had been nearly a month now since the four laws that pave the way for local government elections were passed in Parliament but not assented to. “…for many confounding, perplexing reasons, the President has not yet assented to those bills. The Chamber looks forward to those bills being assented to so that in 2014 we can finally see the return of local democracy in our beloved country, which has not occurred since 1994”, Urling said.

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