Canadian companies eyeing long-term partnerships with local private sector
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Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman
Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman

MANY Canadian companies are looking to forge long-term partnerships with local firms, Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman has said.
Berman, in a recent Online interview, said that through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Canada has been in discussions with the government about the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP), and is also among the bidders for the Gas-to- Shore project.
“Canadian companies want to be here for the longer term and look for partnerships. And the one thing that I’ve learned is that people-to-people contact in Guyana is really important,” Berman said.
He related that the Canadian Government has been doing what it can to foster and strengthen relationships between the Canadian and Guyanese private sector, and has been impressing upon Canadian businessmen to visit Guyana and meet with local companies.
“Our number one piece of advice [to Canadian businesses] is to come down here. You need to come down here and meet the potential partners, have meetings with the government, and seek out potential partners. And that is the Canadian model,” Berman said.
He noted that focus has been placed on increasing the membership of the Canada Guyana Chamber of Commerce (CGCC), which was formed in 2020 with just 28 members. The CGCC now has over 60 members.
“One of the challenges, and one of the goals is to continue to grow the membership, both on the Guyanese and the Canadian side,” Berman said.
One initiative to achieve this goal was the Chamber’s inaugural gala and fundraiser in Toronto last month.
Held at the Hilton Markham Suites Hotel in the Greater Toronto Area, the event was attended by Guyana’s Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, and Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Peter Ramsaroop.
“One of the main objectives of the gala held in Toronto was to be able to make the Chamber more visible to the Canadian private sector. So, one of the goals is to have a strong Canadian membership, and then the next goal is to strengthen the partnership. The Chamber is important for Canadian investment. It provides advice; it provides guidance to provide potential partnership,” Berman said, adding: “[The intention is] marrying up Canadian and Guyanese companies that could work together. There is a very interesting policy committee that has a business-to-business policy dialogue on various issues that will be relevant to investments in Guyana, so there’s a lot of work to do. We want to ensure that this is an equal partnership between Canadians and Guyanese in the Chamber.”
The High Commissioner’s Office sits on the Chamber as an advisory member, supporting the activities and partnerships among businesses. The High Commission has also created a unique Canadian Trade Commission to provide services for, and work closely with the Chamber.
Also, in the interest of supporting the investment of Canadian businesses in Guyana, in April, Guyana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which acts as prime contractor for foreign government purchases from Canada.
As prime contractor, every contract signed by the CCC has the legal effect of being signed in the name of the Government of Canada, thereby giving foreign government buyers the assurance that the contract will be delivered as per the agreed terms and conditions guaranteed.
“CCC is a very interesting government agency that allows for government-to- government contracts. That would mean if the CCC gets involved in a project, they are providing the government of Canada guarantee and will act as the contractor. And if there are issues with the contract, the Government of Canada guarantees to see it through in terms of financing and that the work is done on time,” Berman said.

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