Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira has taken umbrage to what she termed the “targeting” of the Private Sector by sections of society, particularly the main Parliamentary Opposition, for saying that the corporate bloc is aligned with the government. The Minister, during a recent National Communication Network (NCN) interview, said that the private sector, like any other crucial body, has a right to give its opinion on the development of Guyana.

“[S]ome people have a discomfort with the private sector. Some people seem to be picking on the private sector for some reason. If it is the private sector that they are accusing of being aligned, are you telling me that the labour unions aren’t aligned or aligned in different ways, or the religious organisations aren’t aligned? Or the professional bodies aren’t aligned? Why is it that the private sector alone is being targeted?” Teixeira queried.

The Opposition is on record saying that the government is only concerned about “enriching its friends in the private sector”, and the recent joint clean-up of Georgetown exposes this “unholy alliance”. It was the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader, Aubrey Norton, during his inauguration speech upon being appointed head of the party, who said that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) does not represent all local businesses and some business owners have confided in him, their disappointment in being affiliated with this “partisan” bloc.

The wedge between the PSC and the APNU+AFC is believed to have been slammed when the body expressed dismay at the Coalition’s attempt to cling to power amid the controversial March 2020 General and Regional Elections. But the PSC was not the only local body that called out efforts to rig that electoral process. In fact, several other local observers including the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) condemned the obfuscation of numbers that created mass confusion during that electoral process that threatened democracy.

The opposition recently found fault with the stipulation that a private sector nominee will sit on the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, the body tasked with ensuring the prudent management of the oil funds. According to the NRF Act, the committee will have one nominee from the National Assembly, three representatives from the religious community, two from the private sector, two from organised labour and one representative of the professions.

“We need the private sector to be a dynamic partner in all of these, and we would like the others – the religious organisations, labour groups, the professional bodies – to be as well, and that is why they are included in the Act as participants, as partners,” Minister Teixeira said.

She continued, “I think that there are those in society who want to intimidate people by targeting them. We don’t always have to agree with our partners, but we have a responsibility to build our nation, even when we agree to disagree, and I think that that is the thrust of the Natural Resource Fund Act.”


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