Every time a government functionary has spoken publicly on the matter of official policy on foreign investment in Guyana it is always the same unchanging story.
The disclosure late last week that Cabinet will now be contemplating the goings-on at the operations of the majority RUSAL-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI) is as good an example as one would find of feverishly seeking the close the stable gates long after the horses have bolted leaving in their wake a trail of mayhem and destruction.
It made for encouraging news that the GO-Invest Chief Executive Officer Owen Verwey met with a sizeable group of Brazilians, potential investors we are told, at the Brazilian Cultural Centre earlier this week “to explore investment opportunities” in Guyana’s economy.
The news emanating from the Ministry of Business’ recently released 2016-2020 Development Plan pertaining to skills’ shortages in some key public sector agencies extends to the Small Business Bureau, part of the critical apparatus set up for administering the support mechanisms for small business development.
It should be said at the outset that the private sector’s recent publicly expressed concern that crime, including violent crime, once again appears to be lurching out of control and its demand that there be a concerted official response to push back the current crime wave is entirely appropriate.
All of the evidence bared during last Tuesday’s interface between functionaries of the Govern-ment Analyst Food and Drugs Department (GA/FDD) and the Guyana Revenue Authority – Customs and Trade Administration ostensibly to attempt to refine the relationship between the two state agencies in matters pertaining to the importation of safe foods, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices into Guyana suggested that the engagement was long overdue and ought to have happened much sooner.
On Tuesday October 18, the Stabroek News’s editorial titled ‘Crime statistics and public security’ raised the issue of the relevance of the crime figures routinely published by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in the context of the role that the figures play in helping the public to arrive at a reliable assurance regarding just how safe we are.
It is not the easiest thing in the world to speak glibly about safety in the gold mining sector in circumstances where most of us who dwell outside of that circle do not know much about the associated risks.
Those who know even a little about the career of recently appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana Professor Ivelaw Griffith, may well be persuaded that he is what one might call ‘the right fit’ for the job as Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana.
We can probably anticipate an animated reply from the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) to the forthright comment made by Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Vishnu Doerga on the 10 per cent salary increase in public servants salaries offered by the Government of Guyana and which the union says it rejects.
One of the things that came clearly across in this newspaper’s interview earlier this week with Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman was the need to separate the idealistic wishful thinking that used to (and still does) inform public discourse about such prospects that might arise as a result of an oil discovery from the very different reality that obtains now that we are actually on the verge of becoming an oil-producing nation.
The passage of time and the unfolding evidence of some crucial directions in which Guyana’s development appears to be heading underscores the importance of the country’s aviation sector and more particularly the Eugene F.
The Bourda vendors who ply their trade on Robb Street between Alexander Street and Orange Walk may have been given a directive to resume trading yesterday after being subjected to two successive days of loss of earnings but that does nothing to conceal the continually deteriorating relationship between City Hall and the urban vending community, on the one hand, and on the other the patently quixotic management style of the new municipal regime in matters pertaining to addressing the issue of vending in the capital and more.
It would not have come as a surprise to those with a reasonable knowledge of the characteristics and behaviour of the oil industry that the commencement of offshore oil production will not coincide with the creation of a surfeit of jobs for Guyanese.
The behaviour of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) would appear to be drifting from the erratic to the bizarre.
The Stabroek News’ account of the ongoing brouhaha between City Hall and the two waste disposal contractors, Puran Brothers and Cevons Waste Management, over the former’s liabilities to the two service providers would surely have been hilarious had the whole sorry tale not graphically exposed the fact that the recent Local Government Elections that had been held forth in some quarters as a panacea for all the ills of the municipality will clearly not exorcise some of the long-standing demons that have haunted City Hall.
The appearance in today’s issue of the Stabroek Business of an article written by Mr Louis Holder, a local business owner, reflecting on what he perceives to be some of the impediments to the growth of the country’s manufacturing sector, seeks to break new ground in the relationship between this newspaper and the business sector.
The state of the country’s economy and exactly where it has been heading over the past year or so is one of the current talking points among Guyanese.
There is absolutely no way that the authorities could have continued to countenance the relentless pillaging of the installations of the utility companies by thieves targeting metal infrastructure for vandalizing in order to make a living out of selling the metal.
The recent announcement that Guyana will be hosting a high-profile coconut industry forum in October this year will probably not attract much sustained interest beyond the direct stakeholders in the industry though in his briefing on the forum and the industry as a whole provided to this newspaper, Mr Raymond Trotz, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Forum for Coconut Development hoped otherwise.
The evidence that all is far from well in terms of the relationship between the government and the private sector can no longer be ignored.
The burden of our responsibility as the Stabroek News’ weekly Business Supplement is to publish stories and points of view on issues pertaining to the growth, development, challenges, limitations, successes and failures of the local business community.
It is a comforting thing that sections of the citizenry have opted to hold City Hall to account in the parking meter brouhaha, if only to make the point that its behaviour in the matter of the rolling out of the project runs counter to the very commitment that it made to democratic conduct when it took office to replace a predecessor administration that had itself been accused of, not infrequently, acting as a law onto itself.
While the Stabroek Business has been unable to secure a reliable estimate of the extent of the increase in urban trading over the past five years we have noticed the pronounced upsurge in small business investments in sectors such as grooming and beauty treatment (barbering, hairdressing, cosmetology), fashion, food vending and IT goods and services.
The very last thing that City Hall needs now that it is probably better-positioned than it was a few months ago to put behind it a past strewn with accusations of fraud, mismanagement and corruption is more of the same, though it seems on the basis of the available evidence that it may not be particularly mindful of the consequences of passing the same way twice.