The CARICOM Private Sector Organization’s (CPSO’s) attention has been drawn to numerous exchanges in the Guyana Media centred on routine internal communication emanating from the CPSO Chairman after the CPSO Executive Committee Meeting of January 11th, 2022. Unfortunately, that communication appeared to have been leaked without the benefit of any explanation of context and intent. As is sometimes the case when such leaks occur, there has been much misinterpretation and misrepresentation.
The CPSO’s Executive Committee Meeting of January 11th, 2022, considered several matters on the Agenda, among them was Guyana’s recent passage of Act No 18, 2021, Local Content Act 2021 (‘Local Content Act/Bill’). That discussion highlighted the concerns of the CPSO Executive Committee Members that the Local Content Act appeared to contravene various provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC).
The Meeting reached a consensus, in keeping with its mandate, to seek consultations with the Office of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and depending on the outcome, to raise the matter with the CARICOM Secretariat. Director Suresh Beharry was requested to facilitate a meeting between the CPSO and the Office of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to discuss the sensitive issue.
That the internal CPSO communication penned by the CPSO Chairman, Mr Gervase Warner was contained in an email which in its signature block, described Mr Warner’s position as President and Group CEO of Massy rather than as Chairman of the CPSO was an unfortunate error. At all material times, Mr. Warner acted under his remit as Chairman of the CPSO, and not in his substantive position as President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Massy. Despite this error, the communication clearly and irrefutably refers to proposed CPSO actions that are appropriately within its mandate and the various levels at which urgent consultations should be sought to address any possible issues regarding the legislation.
Having regard to the CPSO’s mandate and premised on the importance of consultations as recognized in the RTC, under Article 26, the CPSO fully intends to seek dialogue with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and where the policy issues warrant consideration by the Community, to engage in such a search for pro-CARICOM outcomes.
The public attention which this matter has attracted, and the cross-border concerns that arise for the private sector, are evidence of the importance of the CPSO in providing agency to cross-border private sector concerns.
The CPSO, does not claim to be the arbiters of right and wrong on matters which appear to subtract from settled rights emanating from the RTC. The CPSO, however, has been charged with the responsibility to raise issues and seek consultation and possible resolution of such on matters pertaining to the full implementation of the CSME.
While the CPSO assumes no liability for the unauthorized leak of our internal Executive Committee communication, we do feel it our responsibility to apologize to the People of Guyana for the ‘media spectacle’ to which this has apparently contributed. Please note that the concerns raised reflect the views of the CPSO and not that of any specific member company.