To be a businessman of any consequence in Guyana today, one either has to really love the country or be slightly crazy, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Edward Boyer has observed.
Addressing the Chamber’s recent dinner and award ceremony at Le Meridien Pegasus, Boyer clarified that he was one who loved his country. He said the temptation to throw up hands in despair and leave these shores must be ever present in the minds of those who are wondering “What next?”
But Boyer said that this would not help, as business closures would mean unemployment and consequently even more crime and unrest. It was a sad state of affairs for a country like Guyana to boast so much potential and yet be so impoverished.
He called on the political leaders to stop playing politics and pull “this torn nation together.”
Boyer said the chamber was very pro-active in trying to deal with the crime situation and had made its position clear at the national crime consultation level. The GCCI met on several occasions with the Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj, the Police Commissioner (ag) Floyd McDonald and other key stakeholders to discuss strategies to arrest the situation.
He announced, too, that the GCCI has enlisted a crime specialist, who had conducted several crime seminars to benefit the membership.
Additionally, the GCCI has contracted a medical specialist from the Johns Hopkins University to conduct a workshop on stress management; and has solicited the services of a banking specialist to explain the technicalities of the banking system. He recalled that when businessmen were experiencing trouble with the Customs and Trade Administration, the GCCI had responded by hiring a consultant and the results had been positive.
The GCCI also began a business sensitisation programme and is currently collaborating with the University of Guyana (UG) to develop synergies that would see UG reshaping its curriculum to more pertinently address the needs of the private sector.
According to Boyer, this year’s awards were not presented to corporations but to the movers and shakers of the companies that blaze the trail in Guyana, the region and further afield in 2002.
The awardees were chartered accountant Christopher Ram for a consistent effort to sensitise and educate the business community via the electronic and print media; businessman Brian James for promoting the mandate of the GCCI via the umbrella Private Sector Commission; Dorris Lewis for long and selfless dedication to social relief causes; GT&T CEO Sonita Jagan for her efforts to improve telecommunications in Guyana; Clifford Reis for being a trailblazer in corporate expansion and development; David Yankana for long and dedicated service to the private sector; and Abdool Gafoor for a significant contribution in furthering the growth of the manufacturing sector.