–Encourages them to think big and to be bold and aggressive in going after opportunities
Georgetown, Guyana—(August 19, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali has urged the private sector in both Guyana and Suriname to think big and be bold and aggressive in going after the opportunities on the horizon.
The Head of State gave this charge today at a working breakfast hosted by the Private Sector Commission. He was joined by the President of Suriname, His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi and members of his delegation.
“There are many opportunities ahead of you, that is why it is important that we set the right tone. Today we are two countries, neighbours not talking about competing with each other, but talking about cooperating with each other; talking about coordinating with each other to develop the seamless path for the prosperity of the people of both countries.”
In an effort to achieve this, the President pointed to the importance of building trust.
“That is why President Santokhi and I made the point that we lead from the front in demonstrating to the people of both countries that we trust the process, we trust each other and we trust the policies and programmes that will be designed to take the countries forward. We want the private sector of both countries to work towards building trust. When you build trust, you build partnerships; when you build partnerships, you build capacity; when you build capacity, you build a foundation to win.”
He explained that realistically, individual businesses will not be able to win those opportunities, however, if they form consortiums, they can pool together their efforts. This he added is demonstrative of local content and private sector involvement.
‘’That is why we are connected today. We have to think big, in a bold manner, in an aggressive manner…I am saying that the opportunities are there, don’t sit down, do nothing and when the opportunities go away from the local private sector you say ‘where do these outsiders come from and take the opportunities? Why we never had the opportunities?’”
The President pointed to opportunities in various sectors including food production, oil and gas, infrastructure projects, security, natural resources and the environment among many other areas.
He also encouraged those present to commit to the unification of efforts in the interest of both economies and the people of both countries.
“Today members of the private sector, you are the foundation of this partnership. We can create the best enabling environment, the best policy environment, but if there are no takers then we are just creating policies in a vacuum and no one benefits. We recognise clearly that the engines to drive this is the private sector.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY
He said that while this may be the case, the private sector must also understand their social and economic responsibility to ensure that people are included in the prosperity.
“Let me assure you that the aggression that is coming after the opportunities from the private sector outside of Suriname and Guyana is unbelievable. The only way you can create a winning culture is if we cultivate the conditions to win.”
In his remarks, President Santokhi said that the discussions between the two Presidents over the last few days were grounded in a “new future” for the countries.
He assured them that the private sector will be involved in all initiatives either independently or through public-private partnerships.
“Our two Governments will be your vehicles to all these markets.”
In his welcoming remarks, the Vice Chairman of the PSC, Mr Krishnand Jaichand acknowledged that the private sector is being consulted by the Ali Administration.
“This is the kind of commitment we are talking about and we are looking forward to the same with our Surinamese counterparts.”
Meanwhile, in his presentation, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh noted that it is indeed a great privilege to host such a large delegation from Suriname. He called the discussions with his counterparts “extremely fruitful” and productive.
He also acknowledged the unprecedented number of private sector leaders who form part of President Santokhi’s delegation.
Dr Singh said that both countries are at a unique juncture economically, particularly with the opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
“We have an opportunity to transform Guyana that has never been seen before…We would like you to see Guyana as a place to do business, explore new markets, deliver new services and expand business.”
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, the Honourable Oneidge Walrond provided a brief overview of the key investment opportunities in Guyana’s Tourism Sector, which is one of the largest export sectors in the country. She outlined the opportunities that exist for strategic partnerships between operators from the two countries and the twinning of the two destinations.
“Guyana is serious about our tourism product and where it can take us….We wish to work with you as investors to develop the tourism sector,” she said.
Members of the private sector were then invited to interact with both Presidents during an interactive question and answer segment.