Brigadier David Granger
Leader of the Opposition
Office of the Leader of the Opposition
61 Hadfield Street
Dear Brigadier Granger,
The PSC writes to express its grave concern and to express its profound dissatisfaction with the statements made by Mr. Joe Harmon on October 03, 2013 regarding the potential investors of the Marriott Hotel and Atlantic Holdings Inc.
The PSC is particularly concerned about the statements that “banks are now put on notice that the APNU consider this project as lacking economic justification, without Parliamentary approval and as presently configured not in the best interest of Guyanese” and “as such we, as representatives of the people of Guyana, would find difficulty honouring any commitment made by Atlantic Hotel Inc., NICIL, or the Government of Guyana in this regard”.
The PSC wishes to point out that these statements have far reaching and very serious negative investment consequences for all private businesses in the country, most especially those which are seeking to access capital overseas.
We ask that APNU appreciate that political statements of this nature, made by a senior member of the major party in opposition, impact on the political risk of every business as it can be interpreted that we are a country which cannot be trusted by an investor to honour its international obligations.
This statement is bound to heavily impact on the future cost of capital and erode the private sector’s, indeed the country’s, access to international finance and funding.
We would have thought that the leadership of APNU would fully understand that it is dangerous for any state wishing to attract investment to be known as one which does not honour its legal obligations. It should be appreciated that agreements entered into by the State transcend government.
Further, we believe that these statements are extremely premature, as they inexplicably presume that a large regional financial institution and established banks in the syndicated loan financing for the Marriott would not have performed their due diligence and loan analysis. Such a presumption is unwarranted and can only be seen as a political threat to intimidate foreign investors and financial institutions from supporting projects sponsored by the Government.
The PSC finds it difficult to understand that APNU would hold any view other than that private and well established financiers should be given the space to form their own conclusion on the financial viability and legality of a major project, as is the practice on every project that a bank finances.
Further, we believe that the legality or illegality of any contract entered into by the government of the day can only be determined by a court of law and that it is entirely improper for any political party or, for that matter, the Parliament, to publicly pronounce in a manner deliberately intended to undermine the contractual obligation of the State.
While the PSC recognises that the political dispensation has fundamentally changed from the past and that a minority government has been elected, we are unable to accept the logic of some of APNU’s recent decisions with regard to a number of major investment projects initiated by the government. We are, for instance, unable to determine the correlation of APNU’s unqualified opposition to projects such as the Airport Expansion, Specialty Hospital, Amaila Falls and now the Marriott Hotel, on job creation, economic development and the improved welfare of the society.
The PSC would, therefore, like to engage the APNU in a discussion on the objectives and implications of its policies and to share our views on policies that we would like to advocate so that the private sector can continue to be confident that, regardless of whichever political party is in office, the private sector will be recognised to be the means of economic growth.
Ronald D. Webster