Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Trade in the Americas Virtual Mission
December 8, 2021
Honorable Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond
Members of the Private Sector
Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
It’s a pleasure to speak with you today about a subject that has all of us at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown working very hard – creating partnerships between U.S. and Guyanese businesses that will bring prosperity to both Guyana and the United States. The linkages between our two countries are as rich as our 55-year history of diplomatic relations. They span across generations of diaspora who call both the United States and Guyana home, and they range from person-to-person and family connections linking our two cultures, to educational exchanges, to government-to-government engagements, and—very importantly—business-to-business linkages. It is only fitting that this conversation take place right now as U.S. investors consider the vast investment and partnership opportunities in Guyana. I want to thank the Department of Commerce for bringing us together, and I know that your work will continue as we plan the in-person phase of this trade event. Thanks also goes to our colleagues in Santo Domingo, who provide essential guidance to our team here at U.S. Embassy Georgetown, a Department of Commerce Partner Post. That means that we work together closely to make sure U.S. businesses get excellent support and market intelligence, and we proactively flag new opportunities for U.S. businesses interested in Guyana.
Current conditions require that this relationship-building is a mix of virtual and in-person, but I can’t overstate how important in-person connections are. I was in Houston this past summer at the Offshore Technology Conference, and it was clear that personal introductions were helpful to make sure U.S. companies understand the opportunities available. In just a couple of days in Houston, nine MOUs were signed between U.S. and Guyanese entities for further collaboration in business and education, and numerous informal networking events popped up throughout the time of the Conference.
And that is why I am here today, to make it clear that the U.S. government stands ready to assist in making the connections between U.S. and Guyanese businesses a reality. The United States is Guyana’s largest trading partner, and we want to keep it that way. We couldn’t be happier with all of the interest in Guyana right now, and we are here as a resource. Based on my experience, however, I do have a couple of pieces of advice for all U.S. companies who are thinking seriously about a partnership in Guyana.
First, do your due diligence in the sector in which you want to invest. That includes reading up on that sector as well as speaking with trusted, highly regarded Guyanese partners, attorneys, and accountants. The Guyanese will want to know that you did your homework.
Second, you should reach out to the American Chamber of Commerce in Guyana to help guide you with additional contacts and thoughts on your proposed investment. Since 2018, the Chamber has grown quickly to be one of the major private sector organizations in Guyana. AmCham leadership can speak to opportunities in a variety of sectors in Guyana and provide a roadmap to help guide discussions.
Third, for those serious about doing business in Guyana, a physical presence is essential and working with a trusted and well-regarded local partner is key to success. A track record is also important, of course, as is clear and secured financing, not just big ideas. But, there is nothing quite as valuable as face-to-face meetings, especially as the Guyanese culture is built on personal relationships. While COVID numbers have been decreasing in both of our countries, we still recommend taking the appropriate precautions before traveling, but do come to Guyana. The fact is that nothing replaces visiting Guyana in-person, which multiple U.S. companies have already done and continue to do. It is the best way to get to know who you’ll be working with.
Finally, I note that there is a lot of interest in making the business relationships between our two countries stronger than ever. It’s a natural partnership given geography and shared values. There are actually more Guyanese living abroad than in Guyana, and many of them are in the United States. So, there is a shared history, a shared language, and a shared vision for a prosperous future. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring to this nation, and I hope that many of you will be part of this historic and transformational time in Guyana. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
Thank you very much.