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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
For all the official discourse and the various initiatives undertaken to talk up the value-added potential of Guyana’s agricultural sector there is no question that the country continues to be way below its potential in this regard.
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.
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.