Int’l businesses cautioned against entering corrupt transactions with locals
President of the Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GACC), Wesley Kirton has outlined a number of trade and investment opportunities available in Guyana during a presentation at an international business conference held in Florida, USA on Friday.
However, Kirton, according to a statement released after the event, warned companies wanting to do business in Guyana against entering corrupt transactions with any public or private individuals and to do effective due diligence before choosing local joint venture partners.
“I must caution however against entering into any corrupt transaction with individuals in the government and/or private sector. I am sure most of you are signatories to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act here in the US or at least are familiar with the severe penalties for graft, money laundering and other forms of corruption,” Kirton told those gathered.
In his presentation on ‘Doing Business with Guyana,’ Kirton pointed out that while he does not speak on behalf of the Government, he can offer the assurance that “the current and any future Governments of Guyana will respect any agreements into which you enter with the State.”
Referring to recent reports about the contract signed between the Guyana Government and US Oil major, ExxonMobil, he said there may be a perception that successive Guyana Governments have been weak in their negotiations.
“Well I should let you know that Guyana is fair and realistic in its negotiations with local and foreign investors alike, but you should not for one moment mistake fairness for weakness,” he warned.
He also urged businesses to be fair and honest in their negotiations and to be good corporate citizens.
His presentation was made along the lines of this South American country’s poise for increase development projects to be funded by its newly discovered oil reserves when production begins in two years.
Describing Guyana as an emerging economy ripe for investment in agribusiness, green energy, tourism, the creative industries and information technology among others, Kirton according to the statement, said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to jump from 3.5 percent in 2016 to 38.5 percent in 2021.
GDP in 2016 was US $3.4 billion. Over the next two decades GDP is expected to jump to 68 billion US dollars, he added.
The international business conference, organised by Broward County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development as part of World Trade Month and National Small Business Week activities, was held under the theme ‘Opportunity Has No Boundaries’.
The conference attracted more than 600 international business executives, entrepreneurs, government functionaries, elected officials and diplomats.