‘Impressed’ by procurement process, British Diplomat confident of equity for foreign investors

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Expressing satisfaction and trust in Guyana’s procurement process, British High Commissioner Jane Miller OBE on Wednesday conveyed confidence that foreign investors will be given a fair chance to vie for major government contracts as the country’s developmental agenda advances.

The High Commissioner was at the time fielding questions from the press at a media engagement for the visiting 15-member British Trade Mission Delegation at the Marriot Hotel.

The Diplomat pointed to the procurement process for the massive US$190 million Linden to Mabura Hill Road project as an example and was “impressed” by the level of “scrutiny” that went into it.

“I know it is an area of capability that is still growing in this country, but I was impressed with the amount of work that was done to get it to that stage so it is something we will keep our eyes on,” she added.

High Commissioner Miller noted that with Guyana’s “incredible growth”, transparency should be the foremost factor in any procurement process.

And while she acknowledged that the process needs strengthening over time, the Diplomat affirmed that the quality of investment being offered by the United Kingdom (UK) will be enough to give them a competitive chance.

“I think the UK businesses, we do provide something that (the) Guyana government wants and the Guyanese people want and that is the efficiency, the quality, and the longevity,” the High Commissioner stated.

The Trade Delegation comprises British companies ranging from education, manufacturing and infrastructure and includes Concrete Canvas, DAR Group, Grove Group, One True Maverick Vodka, Nectar Group, Signature LLP and Woollard and Henry; the four-day trip comes to an end on Thursday.

Thus far, the investors have held a host of engagements with top-ranking government officials, including the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, along with the private sector through the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).

No concrete deals have been set, but the Trade Delegation has its eyes set on collaborating with the government on massive transformational projects.

At the press conference, the Managing Director of DAR Group – a world-class planning, design, engineering, and project management conglomerate – Andrew Loudon has his eyes set on helping the government realise Silica City.

The brainchild of President Ali proposes a smart, compact, pedestrian-oriented, energy-efficient, interconnected and sustainable, comfortable, attractive, and secure environment. And this is the type of project Loudon said DAR is interested in supporting.

“There are a lot of smart cities around the world. I think is very important in terms of the ambitions and it is a project we would like to try and help close,” he said.

Additionally, the co-founder of One True Maverick Vodka, James Luwagga expressed interest in developing a micro-brewery in Berbice at the Albion Estate.

And the British High Commissioner assured that the investors are committed to affirming the intended partnership.

She said, “It is more than just warm words because everyone here is committed to returning but right now, we are developing those contacts so that we can invest and bring development to the country.”

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