HEADLINES in Guyana’s news media are screaming about the three-day visit by high-ranking officials from the UAE to this country.
After a five-year dearth of investor interest in Guyana, except from exploitative, self-interested persons who had no interest in benefiting our nation in any way, individuals, corporations, and mega-rich countries, as well as local entrepreneurs are discussing with the newly-installed Government joint-venture initiatives that could and would provide accrual benefits to both parties. History has been created in this country by two world leaders of powerful nations who have visited Guyana to have bi-lateral discussions with the Irfaan Ali-led administration within months of their being sworn in to office.
The Guyana Police Force, in a statement, informed this nation of the visit to this country of a team, led by His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates and including eight other members in his delegation.
An Inews report of November 19 apprised readers that Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum is one of the notable and influential members of the ruling family of Dubai, UAE. He is known for his work in founding the Africa Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI Group), which has emerged as a strong force on the global front.
The news report stated: “An advance team from the Private Office of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, led by Mr. Gaspar Lino, visited Guyana from October 26-31, where meetings were held with Ministers of Public Works, Agriculture, Natural Resources and others.
“The Department of Public Information (DPI) had reported that the representatives discussed infrastructural development, government’s financing plans, and the energy sector with Public Works Minister Juan Edghill.
“Engagements with Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha surrounded investments in fertiliser production and assemblage, organic poultry rearing, coffee, cocoa, corn soya bean, spices and Online agriculture and product development. Following the meeting, the minister disclosed that a draft preliminary list of areas for investments will be compiled and taken back to Dubai.”
It is presumed that a preliminary list for investment opportunities piqued the interest of one of the most powerful world leaders of one of the richest countries of the world that he decided on a personal visit to confab with Guyana’s administrative leaders.
This current Government will not be engaging in under-the-counter deals, with massive giveaways of Guyana’s lands and other resources to family members, cronies, friends and financiers; nor are their potential investors expecting them to.
During US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s state visit to Guyana, and subsequent to discussions held with President Ali and other Government functionaries, he assured the nation at a joint press conference, held in State House’s Baridi Benab that the U.S. wants to grow Guyana with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that is clean.
He refuted the contentions of those expressing concern that U.S. investments are a threat to Guyana’s sovereignty, and assured: “The United States’ model is to build on the best things of your country… We’ll show up, we’ll bring capital, we’ll bring resources, we’ll often bring technological capabilities that are much needed to develop resources, develop infrastructure for your country, but we don’t do so with political strings tied to them. We don’t operate the way other regimes do, who might show up with money, and then demand political retribution, or worse yet, engage in activity that is corrupt.”
In an interview aired on NCN, Pompeo reiterated his assertions, stating that he talks to American private sector leaders all the time about how they can invest in overseas markets in a manner that is fair and transparent, so they can, in turn, build their businesses in the United States, and explained that he thinks countries understand that America seeks only a fair shot at the competition, the rule of law, enforceable contracts, and a set of property rights.
The Secretary of State affirmed that US investors hire local skills, and that American companies are great environmental stewards. During that visit, the U.S. and Guyana signed bilateral agreements signalling significant U.S. investments into Guyana’s energy and other sectors.
In turn, President Dr Irfaan Ali said that Guyana is looking forward to partner with the U.S. to strengthen border control, anti-terrorism, cyber security, technology transfer and anti-corruption measures.
Guyana’s President had also discussed with Secretary Pompeo collaboration on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, and lifting the country out of the economic downturn. President Ali posited that Secretary Mike Pompeo’s historic visit sends a powerful signal that Guyana is regarded as a responsible member of the hemispheric and international communities, as a sovereign nation firmly rooted in democratic principles, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and the pursuit of sustainable and equitable development.
Like on October 5, 1992, August 2, 2020 ushered in the dawn of a brilliant developmental era, with genuine private/public partnerships driving this nation’s economic growth and social and infrastructural development. Guyana has once again become “the shining star of the Caribbean.”