The GCCI: Is changing the guard signal a real change?

Although this is not the first time that relatively young people have been elected to lead the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), one senses, this time, an infusion of collective enlightenment among the relatively young elect to head the Chamber in the coming period.

The role of the Chamber, as we understand it, is to promote policies that will help member businesses become more profitable and to help (along with the other BSOs) form the glue that enables links between the state and private sector insofar as these. is necessary for the economic development of the country.

Over time the Chamber has also been involved in supporting promotional initiatives for member businesses and lobbying the government for policy changes that it believes will help create a more convincing sectoral or general business environment.

For example, it is not surprising that the GCCI has been playing a prominent role in the national discourse on Local Content while simultaneously lobbying government to create a better overall business environment.

If one were to refer to what could be considered a weakness of the Chamber – and this extends across the large number of local Business Service Organizations (BSOs) – the unique and unacceptable, unacceptable shortage of women in leadership positions, despite the fact that very able women lead businesses in Guyana.

Previous exchanges between this newspaper and the GCCI have led to some interesting issues, not least of which is whether the Chamber is prepared to provide focused representation and support to small and small businesses by creating a vibrant arm that or it would. be prepared to support the creation of a broad and vibrant body to represent the interests of small and small businesses.

In fact, we needlessly reiterate that large and small businesses continue to benefit from ineffective representation in power corridors in Guyana and that even now, these businesses are threatened with survival under the stress of the general COVID-19 pandemic .

Those who are familiar with the ways of the private sector bureaucracy can hardly pretend that they are not only aware of its childish character, but also of its unwritten picking procedure that the Private Sector Commission ( PSC) stands at the apex. Much of the PSC’s leadership has hardly worked its way up from the YISP. This has ensured that, for the most part, the local private sector has spoken with one voice; not only that, but the private sector as a whole has always been aware of Guyana’s political reality and, to a large extent, has acted accordingly.

He has also been accused of chauvinism (which we agree with) in the matter of women in his leadership and indeed arguably created a handful of business organizations seeking to assemble women in recent years. represent a less-than-subtle sign of gender frustration with long excluding women from the apex of doing our BSOs.

If the new GCCI leadership does not reflect a move from what has been, in the main, the highly chauvinistic position of our BSO in relation to women in leadership positions, it at least seems to be a recognition of the need to do that. shake off at least some of the conservatism that has continued to hide private sector decisions.

In an editorial not so many weeks ago, the Stabroek Business made the point that, given what we estimate to be the many thousands of small businesses of one kind or another across Guyana, that ‘ n BSOs necessarily put aside their exclusionary posture. That, we believe, goes double to the Chamber and one hopes his new leadership understands this.