Have Ambassador Ishmael's efforts led to any foreign investment?
Stabroek News
February 22, 2002

Dear Editor,

Ambassador Odeen Ishmael's letter captioned "Our embassy in Washington is lobbying for investment" [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] (20.2.2002) in response to Mr. Ramsaroop's reveals much more than he has intended, I am sure.He has described his efforts at attracting foreign investment to Guyana basically and I must congratulate him for his patriotic efforts. However, I find it amazing that at such a pivotal mission he has only two foreign service officers and I know that none of the two have any experience in business and very limited experience in the business environment in Guyana. Dr. Ishmael himself, I think, also lacks the skills to aggressively and effectively do a good job of what he boasts about.

I think that the Ambassador needs support in the person of a local business executive who has the business skills and knowledge of the business environment in Guyana. I don't think that this is too much to ask the government to fix. Maybe the Presidential Advisor on investment, Mr. Maniram Prashad can take up a position in the Washington mission. I am told he is credited with having Trinidadian commerce in Guyana.Yet again, Ambassador Ishmael has unwittingly supported the position that the PPP/C government is not serious about attracting any significant foreign investment into Guyana. It is a picture of the government's "hat in hand policy" with boasts of debt relief lobbying with the IMF, World Bank and other institutions. And also their penchant for talk with no substance.

I am surprised the goodly gentleman, knowing the limitation of his office has not requested support from Georgetown all these years.Have any of his efforts resulted in tangible investments. Running around the States preaching about Guyana being an investment paradise is not enough. There are many other mecca for attracting foreign investments out there. Suriname is a good example of one of these meccas. Perhaps the Surinamese Ambassador to the US has much more experience and support than ours. Yes, Suriname has been attracting millions of dollars in foreign investments from English speaking countries. People measure success by visible signs of these much boasted efforts.Mr. Ramsaroop is correct and I don't think his comments are malicious towards the government. No amount of diplomatic response by Ambassador Ishmael will negate the fact that the PPP/C has failed dismally in attracting foreign investment into this country and as a result the continuing deterioration of the economy.I wonder what is the make up of our Brussels mission. Perhaps Ambassador King will fare better at attracting EU investments because of his skills and experience in these matters as Mr. Hoyte's former point man on attracting foreign investment.

Yours faithfully,

Kenneth A. David