By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar lashed out at the diplomatic community, which continues to call for the holding of Local Government Elections [LGE].
He made this statement during the 22nd Annual General Meeting [AGM] of the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
The President disagreed that the delay in holding local Government elections is undermining democracy. Instead, he said “What undermines democracy is when you listen to everybody’s telephone calls and read their emails and ban them from having collective bargaining in their own country in different parts of North America”
He, however, emphasized that his administration is always ready to have local Government elections, but he will not allow the Opposition to force him to assent to Bills that are not in keeping with the constitution.
Meanwhile, the President believes that Guyana’s biggest hindrance to growth and development is the non passage of the AML/CFT Bill.
The President commended the PSC for its support and contribution to the economy and recommitted his support. He also urged the PSC to “call a spade a spade” and speak against the Opposition and its continued attempts to stop development in Guyana.
The PSC despite the challenges in 2013 managed to show its resilience and has recorded significant growth in several areas that helped to boost the economy, according to its Chairman, Ramesh Persaud.
Persaud said the domestic economy in 2013 recorded a 5.2 percent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). The major growth areas in 2013 were the construction, rice, transportation and storage, poultry and livestock sectors, which grew in excess of $20 million.
Total exports were $283 billion in 2013 as compared to 289 in 2012, a decline of $6 billion. The declining factors were gold, bauxite and sugar.
The country’s imports exceeded its exports in 2013 by $98 billion dollars, and Persaud said the focus of private companies should be improving the exports so as to sustain and improve the country’s wealth.
He emphasized that the indicators are useful guides for private businesses to craft their strategies for the future, and assess how well their businesses performed and plan for the future.
Persaud also highlighted the main concerns of the PSC noting the continued political impasse in the National Assembly, and the non passage of the AML/CFT Bill.
He also reiterated the sentiments expressed recently by Dr. Warren Smith, Caribbean Development Bank President calling for cheap energy in any form to boost the country’s competitiveness.