Our Ambassador in Washington must engage in lobbying for investment
Stabroek News
February 19, 2002

Dear Editor,

We are faced with just over 1% GDP growth in 2001. While they are many indicators that drive our GDP, key changes in our economic policy must be seriously evaluated. We have failed to realize that our economic growth cannot be dependent upon our known industries which are in dire need of modernization.

Our Guyana embassy in Washington D.C continues to perform only a diplomatic role. One must wonder what diplomatic issues we face as a small country in the U.S.A. and is our embassy a necessity? Is our focus as an embassy in the most developed country in the world realistic? Dr. Odeen Ishmael is a true diplomat who has functioned in a traditional ambassador role and I respect him in that role, but what our country needs is an aggressive economic ambassador that is, as we put in business terms "a marketer". In a conversation I had with the U.S. Ambassador to Guyana upon his arrival, the Hon. Ronald Goddard, he said that he wanted to see Guyana progress and he is not in the country to go to diplomatic functions but to help improve the economics of the nation. This focus must also be with our Ambassador to the U.S to help improve the economy of Guyana not just speak on issues that have no significant impact on Guyana: http://guyana.org/Speeches/ambassador.html. (Latest speeches). We simply cannot afford that luxury.

There are many ways to lobby in the U.S. for economic contributions. We know the President has repeatedly reported on debt reduction which as most of us know is almost an automatic function for developing countries as long as one is persistent with the world funding agencies. Many countries have developed powerful lobbying groups within the U.S. in order to better their country. One U.S. Congressman I spoke to recently asked what we were doing about our rain forest and were we cutting down our trees? There are monies available to protect our trees, especially if we are cutting them down just to survive as a third world country. In recent months, Ford Motor Company has faced a backlash from Venezuela for the Ford Explorer's accidents and many in the country wanted the Ford plant out. Did our Ambassador meet with the Ford Executives to offer our country vast lands for a Ford Plant and the thousands of jobs that would come with it. The Ford executive I spoke to had never heard of Guyana and was surprised that we were an English speaking country and by the way they would not have had to translate the instructions manual and we had a cheaper labour pool than most countries. This is just one simple example of the role of a developing country's ambassador.

It is time for a change and for our Government to be a common sense government that works better and costs less. Creating partnerships with large businesses around the world, putting our customers first - our people, getting our money's worth, what our people want is a businesslike Government, stop doing unnecessary things, be smart, and be accountable.

Yours faithfully,

Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBA

Chairman & CEO TeamBI Solutions Inc.