A DISTURBING call made over the weekend on the popular social media site, Facebook, by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member, Ms. Lurlene Nestor, has aroused the ire of the local private sector.
In essence, the call is for a boycott of businesses that do not outrightly indicate their rejection of the current Administration. And, judging from its silence, APNU is in complete agreement with what Nestor proposes doing.
Nestor, a former People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Member of Parliament (MP), in her Facebook post on Saturday, said, “Today we begin ‘Operation Sus-Out and Boycott’. This is what we do: We will ask every business in Guyana to place a banner or a placard on their business which reads: ‘WE SAY NO TO PPP/C DICTATORSHIP’.
“We give them by Monday to get this notice up, failure to have this visible notice will result in us not buying from them, we did it before and we can do it again… we talking to the big ones from Courts, Bounty, Banks DDL, Fish Shop, all market stallholders and vendors, all businesses on Regent Street, Water Street. We are talking to every business, from the largest to the smallest.”
“Failure to post the notice will indicate to us that these businesses are in bed with the PPP/C regime and they are not on the side of the people. Our scouts will cruise the various business sites and note their observations. We will then make a list of all these anti-democracy PPP businesses and circulate to all so that the boycott mission will be far and wide…..time for real action.”
In light of this development. the Guyana Chronicle spoke to several prominent members of the local business community, who voiced their opinion on Nestor’s public call as an APNU member.
One executive member of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), on the condition of anonymity, said, “Such a call borders on economic terrorism. People should be free to support which Party they want, and people should be free to have their views. No one has the right to instill fear in the business community…A democracy is made up of people with different positions on different issues. Such a call can only be seen as disruptive.”
The source further said that the PSC is expected to write APNU Leader, Brigadier (rtd.) David Granger, to raise with him a number of concerns, including this its latest ‘Operation Sus-Out and Boycott’ campaign.
He also bemoaned the impacts of such an operation, given the Private Sector’s contribution to the development of Guyana.
The local private sector in recent times has been hailed by the Government as the “engine of growth” and a number of the Current Administration’s development projects have been executed via Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Roraima Airways’ CEO, Captain Gerald Gouveia, said, “It is most anti-development and anti-business comment I have ever heard. If it wasn’t so serious, I would think it was amusing. I sincerely want to believe that it is not the position of the Opposition, and the APNU should come out clearly to clarify their position on Ms. Nestor’s call.”
Several other prominent members of the local private sector were unavailable for comment, up to press time yesterday.
Additionally, the mid-year report on the performance of the local economy indicated that despite the challenges facing global and regional economies, as well as the new political situation locally, Guyana has been able to record a 3.2 per cent growth in the economy.
The Guyanese economy has experienced eight consecutive years of growth, up to 2013, and is projected to expand by a further 5.6 per cent by the end of 2014.