Frustrated Guyanese businessmen beseeching President

Dear Editor,

Several concerned and frustrated prominent Guyanese businessmen, operating locally, have approached me to ventilate their concerns. They are calling on President David Granger to “sit up, take notice and get some action” regarding his avowed intention to “green” the economy and create opportunities for further development of the Guyanese economy.

They added that some operatives in Ministries and agencies are not taking the President seriously, but are proving to be stumbling blocks! “We congratulate President Granger on his efforts so far in keeping his word on doing what’s necessary to develop Guyana,” noted a spokesman for the group of influential businessmen.

“But there are workers in the Ministries and Government agencies, who are entrenched and have created a system of corruption that’s almost infallible.”

Their impassioned plea to the Government comes in the wake of repeated attempts to get responses for applications to expand businesses by acquiring land; requests to Ministries and agencies for meetings with their principals which are not being granted; and general denial of the same benefits and overtures that are being given to foreign businessmen, but which are not being extended to local businessmen.

“We live here in Guyana and operate our businesses here, yet still we’re not being offered the same goodies that are being given to foreign business people. Government officials go out of their way to woo the foreigners and we’re right here with our investment capital and nobody is really giving us the time of day,” stated a visibly upset businessman who has major investments and extensive business operations, including real estate development.

The group of patriotic businessmen declared their intention of not wanting to leave Guyana, unless extreme and dire circumstances force them to flee their homeland, as they indicated their appreciation of the moves President Granger has been making to “green the economy”.

“The economy is still sluggish and in some cases losing ground. We can help… we need to be a part of our country’s development. There has to be no favouritism by the Government in dealing with local and foreign businessmen. Applications for business initiatives by local businessmen get the royal run-around. We don’t even get an acknowledgement from them when we send in our applications. No favours being asked… and no favours being granted.

The previous Administration used to help its special friends… even helping them with upfront financing to build capacity. We don’t want that… we just want a level playing field, because Mr Granger says he’s a President for all Guyanese.

Even though the economy drop, we local businessmen still willing to invest, but we’re not being supported by the relevant Ministries and agencies. The Ministers not replying or are simply ‘looking into it’. We need instant action. Foreigners being wooed, welcomed and given prime time… with the Government even bending over backwards to attract them to Guyana.

Some Ministers are acting power drunk… and we see President Granger as the only straight-forward man who can give the green light for certain developments to go ahead,” stated the spokesman for the group of worried businessmen.

“So, we’re calling on him to help us. But take it or leave it… if we don’t get any response from the President regarding our needs and support for our involvement in our country’s economic development, we gone!” declared the group of local businessmen.

Yours truly,

Ras Leon Saul