In keeping with its Articles of Association, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for fiscal year 2017-2018 on Tuesday 11 April, 2017 and unanimously elected the CEO of Environmental Management Consultants, Shyam Nokta, as President.
Ramsay Ali, CEO of Sterling Products Ltd. was re-elected 1st Vice President, Ms. Yonette Jeffers of Laparkan Freight Forwarders was named 2nd Vice President while Autamaram Lakeram of NAMILCO retained the Finance portfolio as the 3rd Vice President.
Nokta, in accepting the Board’s confidence, indicated that his main objective over the year will be to consolidate and expand the organization through strengthening the relationship between the Board and member companies.
He indicated that an important area of focus will be facilitating the resolution of issues affecting members through closer collaboration with key stakeholders.
Nokta further indicated that emphasis will be placed on strengthening important sub-sector bodies covering agro-processing; services; chemical and pharmaceuticals; construction and engineering; forestry and wood products; fast foods; and minerals and related products.
The first-time President expressed his strong interest in seeing the GMSA establish strategic partnerships with other Business Support Organizations (BSO) to position the business community to maximize opportunities from new and emerging sectors such as the imminent hydrocarbon industry.
According to the GMSA “Nokta is highly skilled in the management of natural resources, the environment and climate change and has over 15 years of experience working as a Consultant. He previously served as Adviser and Head of Guyana’s Office of Climate Change where he was instrumental in the development and implementation of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and negotiating of the REDD+ partnership with the Kingdom of Norway. Mr. Nokta holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Assessment and Management from the University of Oxford-Brookes, and he was the recipient of several academic awards including the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.”
First Vice President, Ramsay Ali, held the reins of the GMSA following the passing of its President, Eon Caesar in December 2016.
Ali outlined some of the Association’s recent achievements and interventions which included the “preparation of the organisation’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020; strengthened relations with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and facilitating members resolution of key issues; the GMSA’s successful negotiations with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Secretariat to expand the range of items exempt from the Common External Tariff (CET), and securing Government’s support and intervention with the United Kingdom to lift the UK Environmental Agency’s 2015 ban on Guyana’s Greenheart lumber.”
According to Ali, “Guyana, is beginning to attract more international interest which could lead to foreign investments.
“In the GMSA’s opinion, Guyana has to rejuvenate the building and construction sector and really move into secondary and tertiary production of fruits and vegetables, wood, semi-precious gemstones, and coconuts, to name a few” he said.
The GMSA has over 100 member companies covering the manufacturing and services sectors.
The Board of Directors for this fiscal year 2017 – 2018 was also elected at the AGM. The Board includes such companies as Sterling Products Ltd., Banks DIH Ltd; Edward B Beharry Group; Swansea Associates and Brass, Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry (BACIF) that have kept the organization strong and functional over many years.