Businessmen meet Hoyte over crime, economy
Stabroek News
May 1, 2002

Related Links: Articles on politics
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Some 25 businessmen yesterday met Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte and expressed concern about the direction in which Guyana was headed, given the crime situation and the stalemate in the political dialogue process.

They again offered their assistance, if necessary, to end the impasse.

However, the private sector was not in a position yesterday to offer a solution to the problem at hand and Brian James, chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) said he would be canvassing the opinions of businessmen to see whether they had any solutions in mind.

James said Hoyte, leader of the People's National Congress REFORM (PNC/R), indicated to the businessmen meeting him at the party's headquarters in Sophia yesterday that he thought they had come with suggestions or solutions and said he would be willing to consider any suggestions forwarded to him.

The private sector had met President Bharrat Jagdeo on the crime situation earlier this month and highlighted the need to have the dialogue process restarted. They shared this position with Hoyte at yesterday's meeting, which lasted almost 90 minutes.

Hoyte, James said, went through with the private sector the reasons why he broke off the dialogue process with the President and shared with the wide cross-section of businessmen his April 23 letter to Jagdeo detailing his reasons.

James said the businessmen, representing cinema owners, bankers, manufacturers, foresters and miners among others expressed their concerns about the decline in the economy and the threat to safety in the current environment. He said concerns of the PNC/R, which the private sector shared, included corruption, violence, lack of investments and lack of transparency among others.

However, James said, the point was made that the problems facing Guyana were not the business of one person or group but were of interest to everyone. He expressed the view that for Guyana to move forward, the political parties, the private sector and labour would have to work together to ensure this was achieved.

The PSC chairman felt the meeting with Hoyte was "productive and heartening" as it indicated that the private sector was speaking with one voice and was able to speak with each party. "The whole of society is at stake at the end of the day. If the process snowballs and the economy grinds to a halt, where do we go?" James queried.

Hoyte was accompanied to the meeting by a number of PNC/R executives including Hamley Case, Lance Carberry, Robert Corbin, Jerome Khan and Clarissa Riehl.