By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine
President Irfaan Ali of Guyana is a rock star, says Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, the CEO of Go-Invest. The remarks were made in Queens, New York. The occasion was to commemorate Guyana’s 56th Independence anniversary.
An impressive function was organized by the International Center for Democracy (ICD) at the elegant Villa Russo, and an array of personalities graced the occasion. The proceedings were chaired by radio personality, Robert Mohamed. The President of the ICD, roving ambassador Joe Yusuff, marshaled his group well, and Jeany Persaud made sure that all were in the picture!
Mr. Sam Hinds is a former President and Prime Minister of Guyana. He is currently Guyana’s Ambassador to Washington. This writer had the honor to introduce him to the public when Mr. Hinds accompanied Dr. Cheddi Jagan to New York in 1991. Mr. Hinds has worked all his life to build bridges in Guyana. He reinforced many of the principles of tolerance and respect for others in his speech. He said, ‘in my earlier days as Prime Minister, I have worked for peace. We have had our problems, but the best way is to see it as an investment for the future. The main feature of the first thirty years of our history is the persistence and perseverance of Dr. Jagan, in keeping before us a vision of One Guyana. It a vision that saw our peoples coming together as one.’
Ambassador Hinds said he is heartened that Guyanese live cordially with each other. President Irfaan Ali is to be given credit for the ‘One Guyana’ initiative. He is impressed with President Ali’s ‘Day of Prayer’ which demonstrates his efforts to bring the nation together. Ambassador Hinds called on the diaspora to share their ideas with Guyanese at home, so that the transition into an oil and gas economy could be smoother. Overseas Guyanese should become ambassadors for their country, he said.
The stage was set for the CEO of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop. He thanked Joe Yusuff and the ICD for their work in New York, and in Guyana. He recalled the first ICD launch in New York, and commended the team for its work. The interest is high in Guyana, he said. Over 60 percent of the official investors in 2021 were Guyanese. This is contrary to the view that the government is giving away wealth to foreigners. According to Dr. Ramsaroop, ‘Guyana is on the move, with a 47 per cent growth this year, 35 per cent next year, and 1.2 million barrels of oil daily by 2027. There is nowhere else in the world where you will find an opportunity for investment than in Guyana. Government projects over the next five years is estimated to be close to 7 billion US dollars.’
A number of the projects include the Suriname Bridge, the Gas to Shore pipeline, the Demerara Bridge, the new highways, and others. These will open up enormous amounts of opportunities for Guyanese investors. Dr. Ramsaroop said that the projects, and the climate for investment, is as a result of the vision and thinking of the PPP/C administration. He singled out Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali as the person behind that vision.
‘We have a rock star as a President. I travel with him to Dubai, London, and other places, and he connects to the wider world. His vision, the blueprint for Guyana, is well written. The PPP/C has put together a development plan for decades. They have built on it and that is why our growth is happening. The President’s vision of accountability and transparency is evident. He has a zero tolerance for corruption. The President, and his government, want the wider world to know that Guyana open for business,’ Dr. Ramsaroop said.
The Caribbean imports $10 billion dollars of food every year. The visitors to the region amount to 32 million yearly. The wider world feeds them, from Costa Rico, to Thailand. ‘Guyana is poised to take a chunk of that $10 billion opportunity. So, when you see President Irfaan Ali interaction with the Prime Minister of Barbados and Trinidad, it is for us to own that market. We should have cargo ships going from Guyana, Barbados, and Trinidad constantly. As we grow food, and vegetables, our mega farms should be producing more food,’ Dr. Ramsaroop added. In the area of technology, the plan is to shift call center operations to Guyana, and thereby open up more avenues for employment.
The next big wave could be eco-tourism. Guyana has benefitted from positive publicity in publications such as the ‘National Geographic’ magazine and ‘USA Today.’ The development of Kaieteur Falls, with cable cars, could help boost eco-tourism. The last two weeks in September will be spectacular for the CPL finals. Dr. Ramsaroop made the call for vertical contractors to build high rises and welcomed diaspora involvement. He concluded that the trajectory of growth is real and that President Irfaan Ali’s measurement of success is prosperity for all Guyanese, at home and abroad.
There was a lively discussion that followed. Dr. Peter Ramsaroop was erudite, sharp, and up to date with information on all things related to investment in Guyana. He is a definite asset at GO-Invest, and he has a great team. For information on investing in Guyana, please call 592 227 0653 or visit goinvest.gov.gy.