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Private Sector touts accountability, improved infrastructure

Left to right: Gerry Gouveia,Eddie Boyer, Ramesh Dookhoo, PSC Chairman Ramesh Persaud, Guyana’s President David Granger, Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Manniram Prashad.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is pushing for transparency and accountability and wants several key infrastructural projects initiated by the former government to continue.

The PSC has also taken on the task of organizing a multi-stakeholder- business, civil society, labour and religion- National Economic Forum to discuss priorities for Guyana’s economic development. “The PSC Chairman, Ramesh Persaud added that with the mandate given to the Commission by the President, the body will now be able to craft an economic plan and strategy, on the way forward.

According to a PSC statement, that organisation handed over a copy of modern anti-corruption legislation to President David Granger and Finance Minister, Winston Jordan at a meeting held Thursday at the Ministry of the Presidency. 

“The President was also presented by the Commission with a copy of the UK anti-bribery legislation for his consideration,” said the umbrella business organisation.  The previous government had been repeatedly accused of graft and corruption, and Guyana had scored low marks on Transparency International’s corruption perception index. The PPPC administration’s choreographed response to such accusations was a request for the evidence.

The PSC said both sides underlined the urgent need for legislation to address money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the issue of bribery.  The Commission said it reiterated its support for a Public Procurement Commission and an Integrity Commission.

According to the PSC, President Granger promised to address the high crime rates that have besieged Guyana for some time now.

The PSC said it has made out a case for improved air transportation by the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport so that Guyana could achieve Category One status. The business community also asked the new government to assist in the dredging of the Demerara River channel to accommodate larger vessels with more imports and exports.

The Commission endorsed their support for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project and the completion of the Marriott Hotel- both projects that had been harshly criticized by the then opposition A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change.  Just days before the May 11, 2015 general and regional election, Granger stood before the business community and endorsed the Amaila project as part of a Potaro Basin development project.

Other areas that the PSC wants addressed are the reoganisation of the National Insurance Scheme and Go-Invest, an intended one-stop agency for investors. Solid waste management and the need for improvement of tertiary institutions were also on the agenda, said the PSC. “The new government’s plans to hold the long-awaited Local Government Elections were actively supported,” the PSC added.

The Commission explained that, through the Competitiveness Strategy, Public-Private Dialogue Bodies had been established which provided a useful mechanism for guiding government policy and decision making and suggested that these could be reconstituted.

The PSC executive members, who met with the President and the Finance Minister, were Gerry Gouveia, Eddie Boyer, Ramesh Dookhoo, PSC Chairman Ramesh Persaud and Manniram Prashad.