The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) said today that it fully supports the efforts of the Guyana Government to ensure regional and international actors are not engaged in renting Guyanese for the sole purpose of bypassing robust provisions of the Local Content Law. The legislation which was passed December 2021 calls for genuine partnerships and involvement of locals in the oil sector.

The Chamber’s statement follows a press conference held earlier today by Ramps Logistics, a Trinidadian company with an office on New Market Street. The company claims it has been denied a local content certificate to operate in the sector. Ramps insists that it has complied with all of the requirements of the law to obtain the certificate which includes having majority ownership in the hands of a Guyanese as well as more than 80 percent of its staff being local.

As regards ownership, Ramps explained that it sold 51 percent of its company to a Trinidadian friend, Deepak Lall, who is of Guyanese parentage. Interestingly, Lall only got his Guyanese passport last year. His grandfather had also spent decades abroad but is now desirous of being part of the Ramps family business.

Guyana Standard understands that the foregoing move was effected to fast track the issuance of the local content certificate since any work Ramps conducts without it this year going forward would not be counted as being in compliance with the country’s Local Content Legislation. The company has since threatened to take legal action against the government for failure to explain the grounds upon which it was denied the said certificate.

In the meantime, GCCI which is the lead advocate for instituting a local content framework in Guyana, said it has taken note of the foregoing matter while adding that it stands behind the efforts of the government.

The Chamber further noted its position that local participation must be done in a manner that engenders meaningful and genuine partnerships. It commented that participation will ensure that benefits accrue not just to Guyanese owners, but to Guyana.

The GCCI also said it strongly repudiates any enterprise or citizen that seeks to exploit the local content framework by operating under the guise of local participation when this is not, in fact, the reality of the operation.

It explained that this phenomenon – commonly referred to as ‘fronting’ or ‘rent-a-citizen’ – has the potential to reduce the amount of value which accrues to Guyana and runs counter to the spirit and intent of the Local Content Act. As such, the Chamber called on the Local Content Secretariat to examine the ‘beneficial ownership’ of enterprises seeking to obtain Local Content Certificates and recommended that the ‘burden of proof’ regarding beneficial ownership lies with the enterprise seeking to apply for the certificate.

The Chamber believes this will act as a layer of protection against those seeking to operate in an unethical and unpatriotic manner.

Additionally, GCCI encouraged the Local Content Secretariat to continue its vetting of companies applying for a Local Content Certificate in a thorough fashion.


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