Caribbean Private Sector body expands presence in Guyana

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The Caribbean Private Sector Organization (CPSO) is expanding its presence with the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) now agreeing to join the body.

GOGEC, in a press release, noted that it expressed a keen interest in joining the organisation following discussions with members of the body. This comes just after the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Guyana’s oldest private sector body, joined the Caribbean Private Sector Organization (CPSO), promising more representation and advocacy for the Guyanese private sector.

The Caribbean body, only a few months ago, faced a barrage of criticisms as a leaked email indicated that the body’s Chairman Gervase Warner had some concerns about Guyana’s new local content law. The GCCI was among the stakeholders that emphasised that the new law serves as no roadblock to foreign investment.

The Caribbean organisation has since been engaging both Guyanese and Caribbean authorities and private sector players, and according to Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali, no concerns were raised again about the local content law. Now, the body seems to be deepening ties with the Guyanese private sector.

See below the full release issued by the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC):

Technical Director of the CARICOM Private Sector Organization (CPSO), Dr. Patrick Antoine met on July 1, with President of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) Manniram Prashad, who is also a former Minister of Trade and Industry and Desmond Sears, a former President of the Private Sector Commission. Dr. Antoine was accompanied by Adviser Neville Bissember.

The representatives of the CPSO and the GOGEC held exploratory discussions at the Georgetown Office of GOGEC on the role of the private sector in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). They used the opportunity to exchange information on both Institutions, recalling their historical antecedents and the respective mandates of the CPSO and GOGEC.

Dr. Antoine explained the unique position the CPSO holds as an Associate Institution of the CARICOM Community, while Mr. Prashad explained that GOGEC is seeking to maintain it’s position as a key player in the Oil and Gas Sector in Guyana; and expressed a keen interest in GOGEC becoming a member of the CPSO. This position was welcomed by Dr. Antoine, who set out the processes for attaining membership.

Dr. Antoine further elaborated that the CPSO is currently engaged in a membership outreach and onboarding programme and acknowledged the recent decision of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry to join the CPSO. Dr. Antoine also disclosed that the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) were now members of the CPSO.

Both sides acknowledged the critical partnership that is necessary between the Member States of CARICOM and their respective private sectors, in order to advance the vision for the CSME, as articulated by the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Lead Head with Responsibility for the CSME in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.

In this regard, Dr. Antoine noted the importance of regular dialogue between the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, and the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the CPSO, particularly in areas such as achieving regional food security and industrial development, as well as in addressing subject areas such as Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and Front of Package Labelling (FOPL). Mr. Prashad supported this position and said that it was in the interest of GOGEC to align itself with the CPSO through membership. To this end, GOGEC will review the aims and objectives of the CPSO to identify synergies and possible areas of convergence.

The meeting ended with a pledge by the two sides to collaborate going forward to better position the private sector in the task of regional integration.

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