Minister of State Joseph Harmon yesterday announced that the businessman behind a controversial ad targeting the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) has apologised to government and claimed that his actions were as a result of frustration.
Speaking to reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Harmon said that the letter of apology, which was signed by Siri Persaud, General Manager of Eco Potenza Industries, located at Lot 9 Bel Air Gardens and addressed to President David Granger, was circulated during Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
The placement of the ad, which declared “INVESTORS BEWARE, GOINVEST ELSEWHERE,” in the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News newspapers coincided with the country’s hosting of the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exposition (GIPEX), which was organised by GO-Invest.
Harmon read the letter received from Persaud yesterday.
“It is with a heavy heart and deep regret that I pen this letter to apologise to you, the government and to the Guyanese public for my recent placement of the ‘Investors Beware’ advertisement in the newspapers. The intent of the ad was to bring public attention to what I believe to be Go-Invest’s failure to fairly and equally represent me as an investor in Guyana and its genesis arose out of my sheer frustration in dealing with that agency. It was never meant to dissuade any investor, local or foreign, from investing in Guyana but rather to highlight shortcomings and to encourage public discussion concerning improvement to that important investment agency. I apologise for the content of the advertisement and its corresponding effect including any embarrassment it may have caused the country and the government,” the letter stated.
Go-Invest, in a previous statement, had accused the person responsible for the ad of seeking to extort the agency to supply a favourable response by a given deadline. Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin subsequently condemned the ad, calling it both an attempt to sully the country’s image and to “blackmail” a government agency.