Be persistent, not complain of discrimination – Dr. Varswyk advises Black entrepreneurs
Co-Founder and CEO of Georgetown American University, Dr. Melissa Varswyk says challenges do exist for groups of people pooled by their race, religion or gender.
She posited, however, that the key is to be assertive enough that it ensures existing barriers are broken.
Varswyk, who is also Vice Chair of the Black Entrepreneurs Association, told the News Room on Thursday that she is satisfied that new opportunities are opening up for black entrepreneurs.
She also admires the vision of President Dr. Irfaan Ali to create “One Guyana.”
“I understand, I see the vision of President Irfaan Ali but I feel that the vision has not trickled down to all agencies in government,” she noted.
Backed by her experience as a member of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Varswyk believes the President’s vision needs to be well outlined at all levels.
“There are a lot of changes and opportunities becoming available for black entrepreneurs,” Dr. Varswyk added.
While she has personally faced challenges in her business dealings in the public sector, some she attributes to being female, she does not believe it is due to any government-supported discrimination against Afro-Guyanese.
And should other Afro-Guyanese share similar experiences as her, Varswyk maintains that they should be steadfast as the same has paid off for her.
“I have been working steadfastly, being political and trying to achieve my vision for my institution to achieve my vision.”
By her involvement with a larger group of black entrepreneurs, Varswyk said she has heard of other people’s complaints of the difficulty in doing business but said the government has kept open communication to ensure that those issues are addressed.
“Challenges have always been there for black entrepreneurs… If you have exhausted your efforts go a step further and get to the ones who can alleviate those challenges.
“I met with President Ali yesterday because I too was having challenges traversing public sector agencies but that difficult pathway is now resolved,” she added.
Earlier this week, businessman Morris Archer Jr. rejected claims of discriminatory government practices and policies in Guyana and believes instead that the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) “is doing a great job.”
Archer Jr. rejected those claims, stating, “I have not experienced any discrimination as a businessman.”
Archer Jr. Also wants other businesses to know that the team at the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-INVEST) is accommodating.
Recently, US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch also said she believes that both sides of the political divide are working to promote inclusion.
Political activists have been trying to suggest there is discrimination in Guyana and the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentary opposition has repeatedly accused the government of racial discrimination.
However, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has dismissed these claims, noting that the “APNU + AFC wants to shift the conversation so that they can continue to fan the flames of division.”
The Prime Minister, in a press release on October 29, noted that opportunities are equally available to every Guyanese through the policies and interventions of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).
Altogether, Afro-Guyanese are being called upon to be aggressively persistent in their business dealings with public sector agencies instead of complaining about discrimination.
The encouragement comes as the APNU+AFC opposition continues to accuse the Irfaan Ali government of racial discrimination, a claim the administration has already debunked.