No evidence of discrimination in access to opportunities

–business persons say

EVERY Guyanese has a fair chance to benefit from the opportunities that would accrue to Guyana as a result of its consistent economic advancement across all sectors.
This is the firm belief of prominent businessmen, Peter Pompey, Managing Director of Brass, Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry Ltd (BACIF) and Ryan Alexander, President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

Both Pompey and Alexander shared the view that the government has created policies that allow for the equitable distribution of opportunities, particularly in housing, education, business and employment sectors.

During a panel discussion on the National Communications Network (NCN), Alexander said that with the sheer vastness of opportunities being made available to Guyanese by the government, there is not any room for inequity.

“There’s too much going on at one time. There’s housing opportunities, scholarships, and opportunities to start up your own business. It’s just unprecedented development, and opportunities across the board.

“Across the ethnic divide, age, religious divide, persons are given opportunity to elevate their standard of living through education, opportunity to own their own home, open their own businesses. There’s a lot going on and everybody is trying to digest it,” Alexander related.

Pompey outrightly established that there has not been evidence to support discrimination in Guyana, particularly as it pertains to policies and programmes implemented by the government.

“I have not seen any evidence of any discriminatory practices. When those allegations are made they must be substantiated with facts. The government made open scholarships for Guyanese to apply and persons are applying. If I’m addressing the matter I try to look at things objectively. It’s really difficult to say there is discrimination. I have not seen any evidence or fact as a business person,” Pompey noted.

However, as the pair further discussed issues being faced in the business sector, they pointed out that Guyana’s business landscape has understandably been going through vast changes over the past few years, and as such, many entrepreneurs are still catching up to many of the changes.

“There are challenges. The business environment has changed drastically. We came from a culture where we were more lenient with how to go about legitimizing businesses. Persons are enthusiastic about entering business because they would’ve seen the outcries of the present administration saying get yourself in a space to earn meaningfully.

“Persons are optimistic about going out and getting themselves legitimised to get a business started, however we haven’t grown accustomed to that type of system. But you are now operating in a space where business has [been] transformed,” Alexander noted.

Both businessmen agreed that there is still room for much more to be done, particularly as it pertains to access to financing and the need for banks to also revolutionize themselves to catch up with the changing business landscape as well.

“Since Guyana became an oil producer the acceleration of the environment is substantial, but elements of our environment are still lacking in developing a system parallel to the pace of development. We need a concerted effort to enhance policy decisions that will help in that direction,” Pompey explained.

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