Cuba beckons’

Accelerated moves towards a thaw in relations between Havana and Washington (though we must wait and see how the relationship unfolds under the Donald Trump administration) have triggered consequential developments here in the Caribbean where a number of Caricom countries are beginning to take a closer look at the economic opportunities that might be on offer in a liberalized Cuban economy.

Cuba beckons

Accelerated moves towards a thaw in relations between Havana and Washington (though we must wait and see how the relationship unfolds under the Donald Trump administration) have triggered consequential developments here in the Caribbean where a number of Caricom countries are beginning to take a closer look at the economic opportunities that might be on offer in a liberalized Cuban economy.

The RUSAL visit

Not a great deal has been said about the brief and relatively quiet visit to Guyana late last week by two Russian functionaries of the global aluminium giant RUSAL It has to be assumed, however, that their visit here had to do with an attempt to bring an end to the crisis that had more or less been festering inside the majority RUSAL-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI) for years.

Public accountability and the Small Business Bureau

In last Friday’s issue the Stabroek Business published a lead story regarding some of the details of the training regime being provided by the Small Business Bureau (SBB) under the Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) project launched by then president Donald Ramotar in October 2013.

Investing in Guyana

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 Government of Guyana and BCGI’s Russian management

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.

GO-Invest and the Brazilian investment team

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 Small Business Bureau, again

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.

Crime and the public/private sector relationship

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.

Food and Drugs, Customs and the integrity of consumer imports

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.

Crime and the business community

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.

Mining casualties

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.

Restoring UG

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.

Public servants wages and salaries: The rhetoric and the reality

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.

An oil economy: Public perception vs reality

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.

After the Ogle inquiry

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 eviction of the Robb Street vendors

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.

The extractive sectors and the new learning curve

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.

City Hall and the threatened garbage disposal faceoff

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.

Mr Louis Holder’s concerns for the manufacturing sector

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 scrap metal industry

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 Coconut Industry

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.

Public/Private Sector Partnership

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.

Keeping private sector concerns in the public eye

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.

City Hall, central government and the parking meter matter

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.

A perspective on the small business sector

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.

City Hall and the parking meters

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.

Public/private sector dialogue and the economy

Several months after we raised the issue of the seemingly long-postponed public/private sector ‘summit’ there has been no definitive word from either side as to whether or when the two will meet though the former chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Major General (ret’d) Norman McLean did say in a letter to this newspaper that the meeting will take place.

GuyExpo, Jubilee and the visitor experience

This year, small business representatives at the Jubilee GuyExpo event had much to say about how it impacted on customer patronage when compared with their customary day-to-day trading in arcades, on pavements, in malls and the like.

Hastening public service salary negotiations

Once the programme of official events for the Jubilee Independence celebrations is over one expects that there will be some movement on the commencement of discussions between the government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on wages and salaries and related issues.

Jubilee opportunities

Understandably, we have no clear idea of the numbers that will arrive here over the next week to be part of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations, though from all that we have been hearing Guyanese from the diaspora, some of whom may well not have set foot on their native soil in decades, will be ‘touching down’ here to participate in the historic celebrations.

The Fire Service and the Gafoors conflagration

A fair number of people – including some employees of the company with whom this newspaper spoke – have commented favourably on the grit and determination with which the Guyana Fire Service battled Monday’s conflagration at the Gafoors Houston Complex.

Finding a solution

It is the easiest thing in the world to take sides in the prevailing brouhaha between the Georgetown City Council and the vendors who ply their trade in the area of the Stabroek Market following what turned out to be the forcible removal of the vendors from areas where – in some cases – they had been trading for several years.

The CSME and regional insularity

A vigorous and increasingly acrimonious exchange is ensuing in business and political circles in Jamaica over just what sort of reaction the country should provide to what it says is the ill-treatment of Jamaicans travelling to its sister Caricom country by the immigration authorities in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Kaieteur Park mining transgression

The announcement earlier this week that 13 dredges and a dragger had been caught mining illegally in the area of the protected Kaieteur National Park area underscores the challenges that the authorities in Guyana will continue to face in circumstances where the mining of gold continues to coexist with imperatives that have to do with our obligation to the environment.

Chamber collaboration

One of the points made to us by the new President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Mr Vishnu Doerga during an interview published in the Stabroek Business last week, had to do with the focus which, going forward, the Chamber will be placing on reaching out to sister Chambers across the country in an effort to support them in their quest to infuse a higher level of organizational and administrative acumen into the agendas of the business communities in the various regions of the country.

GO-Invest

This newspaper’s interview earlier this week with the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of GO-Invest Mr Owen Verwey, provided some important and long-overdue insights into the likely future of the agency charged not only with promoting Guyana at home and abroad as a worthwhile investment destination but also with helping to open up new external markets in which Guyana can pay a trading interest, apart, of course, from shoring up the traditional ones.

Capital towns and economic development – the President’s perspective

President David Granger’s perspective on the implications of a stronger local democratic framework for the advancement of Guyana’s economic fortunes and for the welfare of the people of Guyana was set out in an absorbing even if somewhat unconventional presentation to the Annual General Meeting of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).

Minister Jordan and public servants’ salaries

Finance Minister Winston Jordan would—much more than the average citizen—be au fait with the condition of the national economy (or what is usually referred to as the numbers) in the context of whether or not it is in a position to afford public servants a salary increase and just how much the economy might be able to afford at this time.

The General Contractors Association of Guyana

When the Stabroek Business learnt that an organization called the General Contractors Association of Guyana (GCAG) had been created we agreed to meet with members and – arising out of that meeting – to bring the existence of this organization to the attention of the public.

Uncustomed goods

Wednesday’s release from the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) that it had seized uncustomed goods valued at $20 million in the month of January would probably hardly have attracted a great deal of public attention beyond the actual newspaper headline.

Budget and expectations

The closest that this newspaper was able to come to getting anyone in authority to talk about some of the likely features of the APNU-AFC coalition’s first full annual budget came during an extended interview with Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin on Wednesday.

The small business sector and economic growth

Anything remotely resembling accurate monitoring and measurement of growth in Guyana’s small business sector has not been possible over the years since no reliable mechanism exists for so doing.

City Hall and construction projects

There was something more than a trifle curious about last week’s announcement that City Hall had called a halt to construction work on the 81-82 Camp and Robb streets construction site after it had been determined that the developer had apparently gone ahead with the exercise without receiving the requisite permission from the City Engineer’s Department.

Changing times

There were things about the seasonal commercial activity that were different this year.

The government and the private sector

Several months ago this newspaper was briefed by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Norman McLean about the planned staging of a public/private business/economic forum which, as we understood it, was intended to chart a course for a longer-term relationship between the business sector and the new political administration.