His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali underscored the importance of strong international partnerships at both the public and private sector levels and related the significance of their linkages to creating a dynamic environment for growth and prosperity.
The Head of State made this assertion, last evening, during his address at the networking reception held in honour of the visiting UK Trade Mission at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Bel Air Gardens.
The nine-member British delegation includes representatives of companies that invest in education, manufacturing and infrastructure.
They are expected to meet with government and private sector representatives over the next few days to discuss investment opportunities in several areas including infrastructure, food and drink, agriculture, manufacturing, ICT and renewable energy.
The companies are Grove Group, Concrete Canvas, DAR, Nectar Group, One True Maverick Vodka, Signature LLP and Woollard and Henry.
President Ali welcomed the delegation and related his Government’s drive to develop Guyana.
“I want to thank you for your interest in Guyana. I want to assure you of our seriousness in creating an environment for partnership and networking and I want to assure the local private sector that their future becomes brighter every time new investors come into the country.”
The President described networking as one of the “most successful tools” employed in the corporate world to enhance business opportunities. He then called on those gathered to reflect on the outcome of the partnerships.
“We are not really supportive of gaff sessions anymore; we are not supportive of wasting people’s time. It is either there is an opportunity or there is not. And if there is an opportunity, how do we build that opportunity together, how do we add value to each other and bring value to all the stakeholders involved in the partnership.”
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
President Ali said that while the country is open for business and welcomes foreign investments, the partnerships must resonate with benefits of all stakeholders.
“We are absolutely, without a doubt, open for foreign investment…We are without a doubt part of a regional integration movement, but we are also without a doubt responsible to ensure that the local private sector and the people benefit from the opportunities that come.”
He reminded that while there are challenges ahead, those can be overcome to create a market of opportunity and competitiveness.
He spoke of his Government’s plans to address the cost of energy, diversify the energy portfolio, build human capacity, invest in infrastructure, modernise the legal architecture, safeguard foreign and local investments and support integration, partnership and networking. “We believe in these things.”
The Government will be guided by its enhanced Low Carbon Development Strategy, since creating a balance between development and environmental conservation remains paramount.
Equally important, according to the President, is to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from the country’s growth.
“We want to create the balance; we are going to ensure that people of this country are treated fairly, that the country is treated fairly. We don’t want to be in a partnership where we are barking every day…instead, we want to work together to get the best possible outcome for the people of the country.”
The President, who said that he was "very impressed" with the diverse portfolio of the representatives, called on them to make their own assessments of the opportunities that exist.
He said too that the country is already in possession of amazing ideas, project documents and project proposals and that the next step was accessing the needed resources.
“So welcome to the land of opportunity, a land of great talent and a land in which the future is built on partnerships to create nothing but win-win scenarios.”
Along with the President and host of the evening, H.E Jane Miller; Deputy High Commissioner, Ray Davidson; Managing Director of the Caribbean Council Chris Bennett; CEO of GO-Invest, Dr Peter Ramsaroop; President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) Timothy Tucker and other private sector representatives were also at the networking event. (Press release by the Office of the President)