GCCI lauded for introducing business code of conduct


GEORGETOWN Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) introduced a code of conduct on Tuesday and about 25 businesses signed on to it at Duke Lodge, in Duke street, Kingston, Georgetown.
GCCI President, Mr. Komal Ramnauth, said the covenant was developed, as a guideline for its membership, on the basis of the ideals of ethical principles and standards, in accordance with the laws of Guyana and the by-laws of the organisation.

He said it is also based on firm business ethics and incorporates social and corporate responsibility, particularly in relation to the environment and strives to inculcate the ideals and provide a framework to guide members on fair and ethical practices in their enterprises.
In his address on the occasion, Ramnauth also extended gratitude to those present for their support of GCCI’s efforts towards becoming a catalyst for change.

“I encourage all members of the Chamber and the business community to be signatories which will symbolise their commitment to the principles outlined in the document,” he said.
Ramnauth emphasised that the wording represents the Chamber’s commitment to conduct business in accordance with all applicable laws, policies and regulations.
He was thankful, as well, to all of the parties involved in ensuring that the process is complete and hoped it would serve to be very beneficial to all.
Senior-Vice President and Chairman of the Governance and Security Committee, Mr. Eon Caesar pointed out that the achievement is in keeping with the goals outlined in GCCI’s five-year strategic plan, its mission and core values.
“The Chamber’s mission is to serve as a voice for businesses and promote and protect the interest of members by fostering ethical practices in commerce through advocacy, training, education and adherence to quality,” he reminded.
Caesar,  acknowledging the assistance and hard work of the members of the Security and Governance Committee and other members, revealed that the finished product was necessary, as GCCI realised that the existing framework of relevant laws and internal policies did not govern all areas.

“As such, it was important that all members and stakeholders understand what the chamber stands for and how they are expected to behave,” he explained, adding: “It will not change the way we do business but, instead, the way we strive to conduct ourselves.”
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo said that, as the oldest Private Sector grouping in this country with a venerable history, it is fitting that GCCI takes the  initiative of establishing the code.
Alluding to the many other initiatives already undertaken in the Private Sector, such as the Company Laws, the recently introduced Competition Law and the anticipated Consumer Protection Law, he said, in the PSC itself, the Executive Director is working around the clock to finalise a complex governance protocol for Guyana, to supplement the code.
“In an environment where business men and women will, sometimes, be tempted to flirt with ethics and standards in an attempt to navigate the various blockades of bureaucracy, it is heartening to see these persons voluntarily submit themselves to the code of conduct,” Dookhoo stated.
He underscored the importance of businesses abiding by the legal system and the fully guided principles of ethics and professionalism, which the code now clearly defines.
Dookhoo lauded the GCCI for the inclusion of principle six, which addresses fair competition and principle eight which targets minimising environmental damage resulting from business activities.
He noted that Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) seeks to place the country on a low carbon trajectory and said all citizens must be encouraged to pursue green practices and technology in their operations.
Dookhoo said GCCI has taken a leadership role in formulating the Code and it must be emulated by all other Private Sector entities.
“All of Guyana will benefit from adherence to the principles of corporate social responsibility, which are embedded in this code,” he observed.
Also lauding the introduction, Acting Executive Director of Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), Ms. Evadne Benfield said her agency is happy to be associated with the occasion.
“The message has been getting out, concerning the importance of standards and I must congratulate all of the members of GCCI. This is a step in the right direction,” she agreed.

After the verbal presentations, representatives of various business entities were invited to affix their signatures to the Code, which addresses key areas, including legislation and government, employees, customers, suppliers, owners and investors, competition, communities and the environment.
Some of those who signed were representatives of  GUYOIL, John Lewis Styles, Linden Chamber of Commerce and Raj Singh Investments.