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Private sector must stop lamenting about political instability and stay out of politics- Business Minister

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin examining a product at Uncapped, an expo for small and medium-sized agro-processors, at the Sophia Exhibition Centre.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin has called on Guyana’s private sector to stop expressing disappointment about political instability and instead portray themselves as a neutral organisation, almost immediately after the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Friday night called for political will in improving the agriculture sector.

Addressing the opening of the GMSA-organised agro-business expo, Uncapped, being held at the Sophia Exhibition Centre, that business organisation called for political stability as that is a key ingredient in attracting sucessful investment. His comment came against the background of widespread outcry against President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). “Within the last week, there has been rise in the political temperature at a time when the economy is slowing down. The GMSA is concerned about the impact this political uncertainty and fallout could have on our businesses and the wider economy – it does not send the right signals to the private sector and investors – both local and foreign,” he said.

Royal Productions Art and Craft on display at Uncapped

However, the Minister of Business expressed concern  that in Guyana political fall-out is used as means of attacking the country’s economy, unlike other nations where business activity continues despite deep political divisions and “the most poisonous of political climates”.

He called on the private sector not take political sides or become too distracted by the estimated 60 year-old political bickering even though it is undesirable.  “We cannot let it dominate us to the extent that we allow it to infect our private sector and to affect business confidence so our private sector needs to be apolitical and needs to enjoy the support of the government of the day and our government is here to give support to the private sector,” he said.

The Private Sector Commission, Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association are viewed in some quarters as being too cozy with the People’s Progressive Party Civic in and out of government.

For his part, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo added that political disputes do not necessarily affect the business climate. “Whenever we have political fall-outs on any issue, it does not necessarily mean that there is instability and that it is injurious to business,” he said. He called on the private sector and government to “become bigger partners” because the State is the biggest investor on drainage and irrigation services, aerodromes and roads.

The Minister of Business said he would like to see government and the private sector take  advantage of existing trade accords such as the United States’ Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, Brazil’s Partial Scope Agreement, Europe’s Economic Partnership Agreement, and the Dominican Republic through the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement as well as Caricom that could allow duty free access to almost one billion people. “That is a very big market and we need to start examining and strategising on how we can access those markets,” he said.

Gaskin said Guyana needs to understand the standards, policies, market preferences and rules governing food imports by other countries such as the United States which recently passed the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Other recommendations, he listed, are smart farming with newer farming technologies to increase yield with less chemicals and lower cost as well, understanding prices, getting more orders and earning more.

While Uncapped has attracted several agro-processing entities, other exhibits included garments, craft and the manufacturing of plastics and plastic bottles.

  • rudeo

    Stop the bullshitting and get on with being a GOVT who knows what it takes to government and plan for tmrw

  • Yannick23

    Can this minister explain to the world what he means by:- The Private Sector to stop express disappointment about Political instability., 2) Guyana political fall-out is used as means of attacking the country’s
    economy, unlike other nations where business activity continues despite
    deep political divisions., and 3) What caused the present situation in our Country as he used the term “the most poisonous of political climates”. Do you the minister really think in this age people can’t think for them selves or they should continue to be brainwashed by another set of incompetents in Govt like before.

    • faoud khan

      He’s angry his brother embarrassed his father in law in court so this is his only way to express his feelings. Tell the nation what has this minister achieved since he came to government? Let’s hear about the economic successes he caused or initiated.

      • Yannick23

        Like many other ministers in this Govt, nadda, none, zilch, capoot nothing, and don’t be surprised a lot more to see yet. The AFC failed us all.

    • Col123

      We black folks need to learn how to make whatever money we have, to work for us..period…but then again, how in hell can you work for $10 a day and spend twenty..eating steaks, driving fancy cars, have women all ova the place ,and wine down every Saturday night…. I know my nigga brothas ( no malice) would jump all ova this comment…and cry discrimination…but that excuse worked well in twenty eight years…didn’t it?

  • Patriot

    What a load of nonsense!! Surely the MIn of Business must know that a stable political climate is fundamental to business success.. no? This message is so fundamentally flawed it is laughable. You, of everyone else, surely know better.

    But then again, Gaskin and the other the AFC ministers are so beholden to Granger and the lure or power, that they have lost all reason.

    Would Gaskin as a businessman say that political uncertainty has nothing to do with business when he was struggling under the PNC and PPP? I don’t think so. If political stability does not matter, the why is Gaskin in politics?

    Min Gaskin, are you saying that politics has no impact on business and the welfare of citizens? Maybe the father-in-law connection is ultimately more important,,, as Trump will say.. Sad,,

    • Yannick23

      True my friend. Well said, this guy for all he is worth he is very hallow like many of the other ministers. If his foot was in the other shoe then he would be the first to bawl and a mean bawl very hard too.

  • Gtloyal

    Guyanese business is just too dependent on government. Its time they start thinking for themselves, creating their business relationships and stop expecting government to do everything for them. Its time they start educating themselves to be real business persons.
    As long as there is no major change with regards to the repatriation of funds or the foreign currency exchange rate, true business persons will see business “as usual”.
    The only investors who may not want to invest in Guyana today are foreign based Guyanese and their reason has nothing to do with the government’s performance but rather with who it is made up of. Their reasons are party politics or their frustration because of the anti money laundering, anti corruption, anti smuggling, anti tax evasion and other efforts to curb the practices that were rampant during the previous administrations. I guess that these are the real reasons for the disappointments in the private sector and what has really created the atmosphere not favourable to investment.
    Look guys, just go do your business and don’t waste your time. The past would never return.

    • Col123

      Gt… the government is the “market maker”… they have every reason to provide the atmosphere for the money circulating in the economy…We black folks need to get involved in such… but then again… look around the world…I rest my case and you can come to whatever conclusion you want!

      • Gtloyal

        There is nothing wrong with the “atmosphere”. To these protesting folks, the people in government are what they see as wrong because they want to insist on a political culture that’s no longer there. And I don’t care if business persons are black, white or yellow. They should do their business and stop meddling in politics under the pretext that “businesses should hold their feet to the fire”.
        If to you the “chaps governing are simply stupid or ignorant” and “lazy also” then to you all Guyanese are also stupid for putting them there. Better don’t Google yourself.

        • Col123

          just your conclusion I anticipate…them talking points keeping you in tune with that world…

  • Col123

    Why alyou hate Naggie so?…51 % a the country a puja the man…

  • rich wong

    THis num skull needs to know tax payers give him a salary .