It is normal for companies to put on display, the works they have executed within a given time or the partnerships they have cemented with reputable firms around the world. But Head of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Owen Verwey, sees nothing wrong if some companies opt to do quite the opposite.
The Chief Executive Officer expressed this view, yesterday, at the Marriott Hotel. Guyana was facilitating a Canadian Trade Mission.
There, Verwey was asked to comment on companies which choose to keep such information secret especially when they are bidding for contracts funded by taxpayers’ dollars.
In this respect, he was reminded that Kaieteur News carried an article on Sunday which spoke about a Canadian firm, Greenheart Tree Energy Guyana, which refuses to speak about its body of work outside of these shores yet it continues to bid for millions of dollars worth in projects here.
The Canada-based company is adamant that that sort of information is “confidential.”
Verwey said that while he cannot speak for the experiences Kaieteur News might have had, in the case of Go-Invest, companies have been open about their track record. Verwey, who is also a Canadian citizen, said that when companies visit Go-Invest, they quickly understand that they are in a place that is trustworthy, treats with their information confidentially and that they are in an establishment which brings a high level of competency to assist them in whatever area they are looking for.
The Chief Executive Officer stated, “We have had the experience that whatever we ask for (such as) evidence of their financial ability from their last financial audited statements or in some cases, if we would have asked for a bank statement, we would have got that very easily. And we can go ahead and do our simple due diligence.”
He continued, “But we also have to recognize that Guyana is a very small market; there are only 750, 000 people here; (you have) people who know of other people and people who know of other people’s business. And because of that, it is a very competitive market.”
Verwey added, “Everyone is going after one pie on the table. So it gets very competitive like that and in that respect, you do have some businesses that really want to protect their business intelligence and their business know-how. Not everyone is always open to sharing that with the media and other sources but if they have to come to a body like us they are typically open to that.”
The Go-Invest CEO also noted that a thorough due diligence process was carried out on Greenheart Tree Energy. Based on the findings, he said that the company is “above board”.
Verwey stated, “Greenheart Tree came to us since last year. Their focus at first was on renewable energy; then it was energy in general and then housing. What I can confirm is that we established their legitimacy. They have demonstrated that they have partnership arrangements. And in some cases, exclusive arrangements with larger entities that are specializing in the areas they are interested in.”
The Go-Invest Head said that in some cases, he would say that some of Greenheart’s partners are Chinese companies.
He added, “So we did the due diligence on the partnering companies and we understand the financial and technical capabilities of those entities. Our questionnaire goes as far as ascertaining if there were any existing corporate criminal records or cases or convictions. But we do the first level of due diligence and the second level would come when you get to that higher level of competitive bidding or award etc…”
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