More support for importation of skilled labour as Guyanese businesses eye int’l partnerships


Local private sector representatives have thrown their support behind the idea of bringing foreigners in Guyana to support the ongoing rapid expansion of the economy.

And while the new oil producer has marketed itself as being open for business, locals are keen to seek out partnerships with foreign companies to develop in-country capacity.

But developing that capacity, particularly the human resource, may not be the total fix for what is a notable shortage of skilled personnel in key sectors.

In fact, businessman and President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Rafeek Khan believes that the shortage expands beyond the private sector to almost every sector in Guyana.

He was supported in his advocacy for imported skilled labourers and more partnerships between local and foreign companies by jeweller and former cricketer, Steven Jacobs and Chandini Singh of Gaico Construction & General Services Inc.

The trio was at the time participating in a webinar on Thursday while sharing their experiences after visiting and exploring India’s opportunities.

“Oil and gas have caused a shortage in every sector when it comes to human capacity.

“We need technical skills and that is lacking in Guyana. In every sector, I would imagine, we have to import operators, technicians, ICT personnel,” Khan said.

And while partnerships to build local capacity may address some of these challenges, Khan reiterated that “Guyana is a small country when it comes to population and no doubt will have to import skills.”

Khan said he does not want to see locals missing opportunities and so, he challenged all businesses coming to Guyana to connect and find local partners.

“You cannot do it on your own. Many have tried and failed over and over.”

Meanwhile, Singh supported the idea of foreign support for development of the economy and local businesses.

“…but please don’t forget the local people, they were here all the time, they have information based on culture and how things are done,” Singh said.

She also recommended the startup of targeted educational programmes to train unskilled Guyanese.

Jacobs wrapped up this aspect of the discussion by pointing out how other sectors, like mining and by extension, jewellery making are also losing skilled personnel to the oil and gas sector.

“Where Guyana going, we will need to continue to manufacture jewellery,” Jacobs said as he pointed to the available skillset in India for example.

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