Amcham Guyana welcomes Trinidad and Tobago businesses

Amcham Guyana president Devindra Kissoon, right, alongside James Devers, managing director, G4S Secure Solutions, left, and Lifetime Roofing Ltd director Franka Costelloe, at the Amcham TT AGM on June 7 at Hilton Trinidad, Port of Spain. - Photo by Roger Jacob
Amcham Guyana president Devindra Kissoon, right, alongside James Devers, managing director, G4S Secure Solutions, left, and Lifetime Roofing Ltd director Franka Costelloe, at the Amcham TT AGM on June 7 at Hilton Trinidad, Port of Spain. - Photo by Roger Jacob

DEVINDRA Kissoon, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) Guyana, wants Trinidad and Tobago’s business community to set up shop in Guyana and help it to become one of the world's richest countries per capita as is projected.

“Really and truly, the country is open for business in every single facet,” Kissoon told an audience of business executives at a forum after Amcham TT’s 31st annual general meeting on June 7 at Hilton Trinidad, Port of Spain.

“Every single business in which each of you is involved, there’s an opportunity for you. And we need the help because we have 800,000 people,” he said, adding that its small population and high revenue projections would place it among the highest per capita income earners globally within two years.

“We really need a million more people to build what we have. We only have 300,000 working people, not all of which are skilled. So what we need and what we have are two completely different things.

Kissoon was recently re-elected Amcham Guyana president and visited TT to deliver an address to Amcham TT’s members, following its election which saw Stuart Franco also re-elected president.

Kissoon said that the two chambers have always been close-knit, crediting Amcham TT for helping launch Amcham Guyana in 2018, adding that the synergy of the two chambers is “incredibly important.”

He said just as he was welcomed in TT, the “Guyanese are looking forward to receiving all of you with open arms.”

Guyana produces about 650,000 barrels of oil daily, making it among the top 20 oil producers globally, and it is expected to increase to 1.5 million barrels within the next two years, attracting “great opportunity,” Kissoon said.

“Guyana’s trajectory has been robust, surprising and unexpected. Our GDP is exploding,” he said, noting its growth by 68 per cent this year.

Yet the country “knows what is to be poor,” he said. “So there’s a huge emphasis on diversifying our economy.”

He said agriculture, including corn and soybean production, plays a major role in diversifying Guyana’s economy, as is fertiliser produced from gas.

“It’s very important for us to have a stable economy – not governed by oil and gas,” he said, noting Guyana’s investments in wind-, solar- and hydro-energy sources.

“We did the world’s first and only carbon credit sale valued at US$750 million…not to cut down our rainforests,” he said, referring to a deal with Hess Corporation – an American international energy company involved in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.

Associated Press reported in December 2020 that the company agreed to buy $750 million worth of carbon credits from Guyana “in the next decade as it works to ensure Guyana’s almost intact Amazonian rainforests remain standing for decades to come…”

Guyana is taking on massive infrastructural projects, including an almost complete road to Brazil, providing a route for convenient agricultural exports, and a deep-water port to service the rest of South America.

“So there’s lots of opportunity for growth that will benefit all of us as a Caribbean nation,” said Kissoon.

Guyana and TT are ideal partners since the two countries share similar legal and tax systems and have treaties.

Kissoon highlighted Guyana’s other working advantages.

“Guyana doesn’t have an restrictions on residency, shareholding, or control. We have no foreign-exchange restrictions; the US currency is free traded and is available (to do work).”

Currently, the Local Content Act, passed by Guyana on December 31, 2021, mandates companies use Guyanese goods, services and personnel in 40 sectors, specifically in its burgenoning energy sector.

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