Former GRA deputy head to chair Go-Invest Board

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The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) has a new Board of Directors, featuring a number of well-known names, including a former Finance Minister and a former Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister.

According to a Gazette notice dated September 29, the new Board of Directors will be chaired by Clement Sealy, who previously served as the Deputy Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) until 2015 when his contract expired.

Additionally, the Board will be benefitting from the expertise of former Finance Minister Sasenarine Kowlessar. Kowlessar served as Finance Minister under the former Bharrat Jagdeo-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government from 1999 to 2006.

Former Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Manniram Prashad is another appointee to the Board. In addition, Guyana’s former Ambassador to Cuba, Mitra Devi All; Quacy Munroe and Cosmos Dos Santos were appointed to the Board.

The gazetted order, which was signed by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, also withdrew the GO-Invest Board that the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government appointed.

When APNU/AFC appointed the Board on January 23, 2020, it was in caretaker mode and moreover, preparing for elections. There have been arguments that the former Government even exceeded its caretaker status, since it fell to a no-confidence motion in December 2018.

The coalition was supposed to call elections within three months and during that time as a caretaker government, it was not supposed to be engaged in political appointments or the signing of new contracts. The former Government disregarded all these conventions and did not hold elections until March 2020, at which point it lost by over 15,000 votes.

Before it demitted office, however, the former Government made a slew of appointments, at one point appointing 44 Board members across five State Boards. These appointments were denounced at the time by the former PPP/C Opposition as illegal. The Party had also made it clear that the appointments would be rescinded at the appropriate time.