Owner of Pegasus Hotel, Robert Badal, is lamenting the politicization of the private sector bodies including the Guyana Manufactures and Services Association (GMSA) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
He told Kaieteur News that these bodies are highly influenced by the government and that this is becoming clearer as the days go by.
As he sought to give credence to his point, Badal pointed out GMSA’s most recent action.
The entrepreneur said that GMSA had made a bookingý to hold a luncheon with President Donald Ramotar at Pegasus’ Savannah suite during the later part of this month. However, without notifying the management of Pegasus, GMSA moved the event to the Marriott “allegedly on the instruction of the President Ramotar.”
Badal recalled that, in a similar manner, private sector bodies as well as government offices were directed or coerced to hold ýfunctions at Princess Hotel soon after its opening in 2007.
He said that GMSA’s actions ominously indicate the growing political domination of Private Sector bodies.
“Now the GMSA is free to choose it’s venue but paying double the price per plate at a venue that has no proven performance record to date and which pays no taxes is hardly in the interest of its members nor the citizens of Guyana,” reasoned Badal.
The disgusted businessman added, “This betrayal of members of Private Sector bodies by its leadership is a feature of its engagement with the PPP administration for the last 15 years. Their silence on corruption, abuse of power and bad governance and poor decision making has contributed to the erosion of democracy, citizens’ rights, and lawlessness in the political administration.”
Badal asserted that private sector bodies, in the interest of its members, ought to assert its independence from politics “since given the nature of local politics successive Governments since 2001 sought to resist the call for accountability, transparency and good Governance.”
As he sought to point out the importance of independent private sector bodies, Badal lamented that the People Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) administration under recent leadership, specifically former President Bharrat Jagdeo, has greeted its critics “with intimidation, victimization and discrimination. A strong body is therefore essential to confront the abuses of the political directorate.”
Further, Badal stated that the PPP has been successful in making businessmen fearful to the point where they either comply and endorse the Party or remain silent. “This is understandable but when the entire set of Private Sector bodies which ought to be strong and assertive in protecting the rights of its members, succumb to political instructions in conflict with its mandate and the interest of its members, one is left to ask who do we have to represent us,” said Badal.
He added that the “betrayal” of private sector bodies or individuals in those bodies does nothing good for the private sector.
“When the executive of such bodies individually or collectively stoop to political direction in order to gain a favor for their respective company or a photo shoot with political figures, it weakens the business community as a whole and strengthens the grip on power by a corrupt political elite,” said Badal.
He added that the political domination of the executives of private sector bodies is so pervasive that some companies have paid permanent executivesý on these bodies that are often referred to as “Ambassadors to Freedom House.”
“As for President Ramotar, the people of Guyana need to remind him that his first duty is to Guyanese, not the Marriott or its Executives who flew to Guyana on a fancy Corporate Jet with representatives of regional media houses on our poor taxpayers’ expense. This abuse of public office must be stopped,” said Badal.
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