Transforming Guyana, Episode V: Implementing Guyana’s Local Content Policy

Media Advisory

Transforming Guyana, Episode V: Implementing Guyana’s Local Content Legislation: Challenges and Opportunities

Recording available here:

DATE: October 12, 2022

TIME: 10:30 AM- 11:30AM EDT

The Challenge


Terrence Blackman
Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal
David Lewis
David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium


Professor Leyland Lucas, Dean, School of Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation, University of Guyana
Andrew Schnitzer da Silva
Andrew Schnitzer da Silva, CCO, Ascending Ltd., Workforce, Marine, Technical Training and Procurement
Richard Ramberran, Executive Director, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Key Quotes

  • Richard Rambarran:
    • “There are a number of issues as it relates to the environment for doing business in Guyana and the way that the environment creates the conditions for competitiveness when juxtaposed alongside more mature economies that have had time to correct some of these market inefficiencies that exist. Take for example, most common is the cost, reliability, and quality of electricity we face here in Guyana. Secondly, of course, is access to finance and rate of interest, and the depth and breadth of the financial sector we have and how competitive we can be in that regard as a private sector…”
    • “How do we then take what we currently have in place and improve, in a variety of ways, the environment for doing business in Guyana and increasing the competitiveness of the Guyanese firms?…What we really ought to be probing on how can we eventually build an internationally competitive private sector…When we begin to move in that direction, we will really see a lot of benefits that accrue to local content…We will never be irresponsible and advocate for the implementation of local content on something which we clearly don’t have the capacity to do.”
    • “Since the implementation of local content, I’ve actually seen more persons coming and investing…there is a degree of certainty that exists.”
    • “I don’t think we need a modern immigration policy in place of the local content act. What I think we need is a modern immigration policy alongside the local content act.”
  • Professor Leyland Lucas:
    • “There is no perfect piece of legislation…What has been created as our legislation, will go through several iterations over the years; there will be a number of changes, amendments to this legislations simply because we have to deal with the realities of our environment.”
    • “One of the critical things for the effective local content policy to really take shape is skills development and how quickly we can ramp up those skills in order to take advantage of the advanced components of local content. It is important for us to recognize that that skills vacuum is not going to be fixed overnight.”
    • “You have Guyanese experts who are in the Diaspora who have ability to help us in our development…If we are going to engage the Diaspora and allow them to take advantage of local content opportunities, then how do we create a structure that allows them to take advantage of those opportunities without necessarily being present in Guyana.” 
    • “In the Caribbean we talk about ‘free movement of human capital’ but yet we do not see free movement of human capital. So as we expand and deal with this local content issue, we also have to ask ourselves how do we embrace our Caribbean brothers and sisters, no matter where they are coming from and at what levels can they contribute to the overall development of this country…We are at a unique stage where the end is certainly not in sight and so as we deal with those economic migrants, we do need to take a look at our migration policy and maybe make some changes.”
  • Andrew Schnitzer da Silva:
    • “There is a big eagerness in wanting to implement these policies or laws and there has to be a transition, an understanding from where the country is and where the country wants to be and what that entails. Lots of times, it doesn’t happen overnight…It has to be an evolving law that understands the needs of the country at any given moment in time.”
    • “If we stop having international companies that are used to international standards through which we can learn and be permeated by them in order to create a different way of going about business, then it will be very difficult to input that type of rigor or that type of excellence in the way we do business…When skills aren’t present or if skills are lacking, it is very difficult for companies to be committed to these [local content] numbers.”
    • “Going back to the 51% shareholding structure and the 75% managerial presence in these structures…If companies in-country do not have the expertise and companies have to come from abroad, nobody is going to give away 51% of their knowledge and of their gained experience unless they trust a local partner. In order to gain trust, I believe the best way is through time…it needs to be nurtured and needs to have a conduit in order for it to be successful…”

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