‘Investors Beware’ ad campaign part of extortion attempt, GO-Invest says

The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) yesterday accused the person responsible for the placement of recent newspaper ads warning investors to “GOINVEST ELSEWHERE” of seeking to extort the agency.

In a statement issued yesterday, GO-Invest, the lead organiser of the just-concluded Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exposition (GIPEX), condemned the ad campaign as an intended act of sabotage.

“INVESTORS BEWARE, GOINVEST ELSEWHERE,” the ad, which was published in the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News newspapers over the first two days of the exposition, declared.

GIPEX opened on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, promising networking opportunities for both local and international businesses with key players in the oil and gas sector. It was being hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources, with the GO-Invest as the lead organising partner.

GO-Invest yesterday said that it is aware of the party responsible for the ad, as the individual had emailed a draft the week before it was published. GO-Invest reported that he had threatened to publish same while GIPEX was underway if the entity did not supply a favourable response by an identified deadline.

“No responsible statutory authority or state agency would curtail or direct its actions based on a threat of sabotage,” the release added.

Furthermore, it was stated that while there was “obvious intention” to sabotage the country’s economic development by deterring Guyana’s investment interests, the expo still drew positive attention from potential investors, and the event reportedly attracted more than 500 attendees.

“…Thankfully, the participants at GIPEX possess the intellectual acumen to view this advertisement for what it is, a malicious act of attempted economic sabotage. This advertisement did not deter investors from participating meaningfully at GIPEX and from building the partnerships necessary to monopolise on the opportunities in the emerging oil and gas sector, as is evident by the number of joint ventures between Guyanese companies and multinational companies, announced over the last few days,” the statement said.

GO-Invest related that it has been working over the past two years to “elevate its profile and performance” by reducing the processing time for Investment Agreements to allow processing within a reasonable time while ensuring that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

“The Agency has standardised all the tools and forms required to access its service, and strives to ensure a level playing field by strictly observing the ‘investment regimes’ for various economic sectors so as to avoid the emergence of conditions of unfair competition. The Agency, in conjunction with the Guyana Revenue Authority [GRA], has also undertaken a monitoring role, in an effort to ensure that investors comply with the terms of their investment agreement, and that the country yields economic returns from the concessions granted,” the statement said.

It concluded by noting that GO-Invest is not chiefly responsible for the Investment Agreement processing, while highlighting that GRA and the Ministry of Finance also play a part in the assessment of applications, checking of tax compliant profiles, and measuring of the net economic benefit that will derive from the investment.

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