GUYANA: CARICOM Private Sector body objects to Guyana’s Local Content law;

— Georgetown Chamber President says time to leave CARICOM Single Market

Timothy Tucker

The Caribbean Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) is objecting to Guyana’s recently-passed Local Content legislation on the grounds that it seems to violate the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) free trade rules, a position that has prompted the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Timothy Tucker to call for Guyana to leave the regional single market.

CPSO President, Gervase Warner has stated in an email states that “at the executive committee today, we agreed that the legislation appears to violate several provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.”  Mr. Warner, who is also the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad-headquartered Massy, said the CPSO would be raising its concerns first with the Guyana government and then “ultimately to the Caribbean Community.”         

Chairman of the Beharry Group of Companies, Suresh Beharry has been tasked by the CPSO, a member of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED),  to reach out to the Guyana government on the issue.

In response, Mr. Tucker protested on his Facebook page late Wednesday night even stating that Guyana should exit the regional single market component of CARICOM.  “If the Trinidad Private Sector or Government wants to challenge Guyana’s Local Content Legislation, it’s time the Guyana Government exit CSME and review the benefits of CARICOM,” he said on his Facebook page. The Bahamas is a CARICOM member in several areas of functional cooperation but not part of the Single Market. He  noted that Guyana has “carved out” 40 of the 200 oil and gas opportunities and “it’s a problem.”

Gervase Warner – CPSO

Former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer strongly suggested that moves to challenge Guyana’s local content legislation were being spearheaded by Trinidad and Tobago. “it would be quite interesting to see such a challenge mounted, as the context of the law, the email and its sender are quite amusing,” he said. “Secondly the sender – the email was sent by someone in a senior role at a regional conglomerate. I am quite interested as to what this conglomerate thinks it would have to gain if they challenged this law. For instance, this same conglomerate ironically benefits from a large number of sales of vehicles to local transportation companies which provide transportation services to the O&G industry,” said Mr. Deygoo-Boyer.

During debate on the Local Content legislation, opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian, David Patterson had warned that the legislation appeared to flout the Treaty of Chaguaramas but Attorney General Anil Nandlall had said that that would be addressed if the need arises.  “Mr. Speaker, we have concerns and require clarifications and confirmation from the government that this Bill will not conflict with other international treaties. Guyana is a signatory to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Sir, and Article 7 of that Treaty- non discrimination,” Mr. Patterson had said. “It is not that we didn’t address our minds to this, Sir. We have addressed our minds to it and when the issue arises, we will deal with it so you have the government’s assurance that we have addressed that issue and we will deal with it at the appropriate time,” Mr. Nandlall had said in his rebuttal.

The CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas provides for the free movement of goods, labour, capital and the rights of establishment in the CARICOM Single Market.

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Comments

  • brandli62  On 01/16/2022 at 9:10 am

    There are two points to mention here from my perspective:

    1) The Ali administration does not appear to have done thorough analysis whether its proposed local content legislation is in line with the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Grossly negligent.

    2) If T&T has been violating the Revised Treaty of Chaguarama as pointed out by Timothy Tucker, why hasn’t the Government of Guyana filled a complaint or taken the T&T government to court? That’s how multinational agreements are typically enforced.

    Overall, the rushing important laws, such as the LC and NRF laws, without a chance of proper consultation from all stakeholders results in such problems and possible disasters.

  • wally n  On 01/16/2022 at 12:24 pm

    What is the rush????? How could any member of the Opposition change their position 180 degrees, OVERNIGHT! on such an important position???
    The Government is clear on one thing, freebies for Guyanese, that is a common political master move, specifics naw only obtuse language. Who knew that Lall would end up as the only strong voice, demanding full disclosure, “Where/what /how much will be spent.
    I can actually remember when Guyanese asked tough questions of their “leaders”
    your vote is your ace in the hole, stop giving it away on stupid promises, there is not a chance in hell, you are getting a free bridge,or free hotel, or free housing in Pradoville, you will get what you always end up with… NADA!

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