TRINIDAD – Trinidad private sector group “discussing” comments by Guyana Opposition Leader


The Trinidad and Tobago private sector remained silent on Wednesday after Guyana’s Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo criticised Trinidadian investors seeking to do business in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

A spokesman for the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “the matter is currently being discussed.”.

Jagdeo, speaking at a news conference last Thursday, referred to the foreign investors as “carpet baggers” adding “there are quite a few coming in from Trinidad and Tobago”.

He said just recently he was speaking to an unidentified person “who was unguarded and he said he yesterday signed up to get some land from Go-Invest and he is going to get free hold title”.

The Opposition Leader in dismissing statements made by the country’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan about the influx of foreign investors and the four per cent growth of the local economy, said land which had been earmarked for a speciality hospital under the previous People’s progressive Party (PPP) administration, had also been sold to Trinidad and Tobago investors.

He said Trinidad and Tobago investors were also entering various areas of the local economy including car rental and movie businesses.

“The Trinidadians are coming in and getting a ton of land here and a lot of them are paying bribes. I don’t have a problem with Trinidadians coming here and investing. Let me make that clear, but not in this period.

“The carpet baggers are coming,” he said, noting that a team which had recently travelled to Trinidad for an investment conference “has been brokering these arrangements.

“So they meet with the people, they have to give donations over there in Trinidad and they were offered land here now”.

Jagdeo warned that Guyanese nationals would soon become marginalised as a result of the influx, adding “I see all of the taxi companies coining in here from abroad…. There is no local content policy.

“I don’t have a problem of people from Trinidad coming here, I believe they have a lot of expertise in the oil and gas sector, you need skill people etc, but they must come in transparently and Guyanese must have the opportunity to access the same resources that they are getting.

“Almost every piece of land that has been divested from GUYSUCO (Guyana Sugar Corporation)…is on the chopping block,” he added.

Guyana is being ranked among the world’s most prospective, underexplored offshore basin, with an estimated 13.6 Bbbl of oil and 32 tcf of natural gas yet to be discovered.

ExxonMobil, along with its junior partner Hess Corp., will bring first oil online by 2020, providing the country with much needed revenue.

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