Business community seeks security, reduction of tension
By Mark Ramotar
December 8, 2003
‘It is time to tone down this uncertain mood that hangs like a gloom on our nation. Rather, let us actively promote the required discipline so that we can position ourselves to reap the benefits of this new global disposition for the current generation of Guyanese and for those to come.’ -- GCCI President
PRESIDENT of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mr. Edward Boyer, has indicated that the business community needs to be assured of the efficacy of Guyana’s ‘finest’ since this would help in reducing the tension, insecurity and anxiety that the local business community is currently experiencing.
More importantly, Boyer said, the perception of Guyana as a “business friendly” location must be nurtured and maintained. He, however, hastened to point out that a Police Force that is seemingly not on top of the situation would lend to an erosion and distortion of such a perception.
He noted that Guyana’s Police Force continues to be seriously challenged and tested at all levels to the extent that their efforts in responding to violent crime and random killings appear faltering at best.
“Once again, our society is assailed by unrelenting crime and attendant violence that have horrified and seared the psyche of the nation. Our senses are rendered numb by the images of torn and bloody tissue, the weeping and the grief that are the aftermath of violent robbery, kidnapping and internecine gang warfare,” Boyer asserted during last Friday’s dinner and awards ceremony held by the GCCI at Le Meridien Pegasus.
He admitted that the reality of this situation was brutally brought home to the Chamber with the senseless kidnapping and beating of the Chamber’s Executive Director. “We thank God for what was his eventual safe return from this ordeal and remain alert to the fact that today businessmen are prime targets of violent crime,” he said.
“We must demand of our Government that as the custodians and investors of the wealth we create and generate, Guyana gets optimum returns,” he said.
“We are challenged both at the Parliamentary level and in the business sector to restore investors’ confidence,” he added.
Boyer also lamented, “Firefighting without water effaces the ‘fighting’ of such a ‘fire’ as was the recent experience by a number of businessmen. “Such a devastating experience compels us to re-examine the whole approach to firefighting and the attendant regulatory provisions,” he urged.
The GCCI President also spoke about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which he said continues its worldwide decrement of humanity. “I want to issue a clarion call for business to step up their support in the fight against this scourge of mankind,” Boyer told the gathering.
“We are encouraged in this resolve by the efforts of the international donor community and global pharmaceutical companies in general, but are particularly emboldened by the efforts of the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation in the production of anti-retrovirals for infected persons,” he said.
He noted that the New GPC was recognised for this outstanding achievement at the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St. Lucia.
Mr Boyer also indicated that back in May of this year, the Chamber welcomed the issue of the Communiqué between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin that ushered in the resumption of the dialogue process. According to him, this singular event propelled the nation into a new round of expectation and hope.
“Hope that all the agreements that stem from the dialogue process are put in place quickly, at the same time that the crime situation is brought under control. For it is then, and only then, that the enabling environment for economic growth and poverty reduction will flourish and further unleash the wealth generating capacities of our nation,” he said.
Boyer noted that the Chamber’s responsibility to contribute to the creation of this enabling environment has underscored and informed the actions, interventions and interactions of this institution over the past two years in general, and the current year in particular.
“It is time to tone down this uncertain mood that hangs like a gloom on our nation. Rather, let us actively promote the required discipline so that we can position ourselves to reap the benefits of this new global disposition for the current generation of Guyanese and for those to come,” Boyer contended.