British Chamber of Commerce officially launched

Guyana Prime Minister, Mark Phillips delivers an address at the event. British High Commission Georgetown photo.

29 March 2023

GEORGETOWN, (Stabroek News, 29 Mar 2023) – The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) was last evening officially launched here with both United Kingdom Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Americas and Caribbean, David Rutley, and Prime Minister Mark Phillips pledging their respective governments’ commitment to fostering the economic growth and partnership of the two nations.

It is hoped that with the establishment of the private sector body that trade and business would exponentially grow from the more than £1 billion that was last year’s figure.

“It means a lot to you but it means a lot to me and it means a lot to the UK government as well. This is a really strong relationship… it builds on the momentum being seen here. So we have got a partnership agreement which is phenomenal and we will build on that to make it even more meaningful,” Rutley said in brief remarks at the launch, held last evening at the residence of UK High Commissioner Jane Miller, in Georgetown.

Rutley’s visit here also coincides with British Airways’ inaugural flight here on Monday.

The Under-Secretary disclosed that he met with President Irfaan Ali yesterday and was optimistic that the relationship between the two nations will only get better.

“It was really clear that he has really high ambitions, like we do, on how we can take this relationship forward,” the British government representative said.

He explained that the BCC was in the works for a while as his government saw the need for business opportunities to be tapped into by locals and British nationals.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Mark Phillips underscored that the establishment of BritCham was evidence of his government’s commitment to fostering stronger and closer economic ties between the two nations. “These economic bonds build on the strong ties and history and shared interest between Britain and Guyana,” he said.

A section of the gathering at the event. British High Commission Georgetown photo.

In July of 2021, the outgoing acting British High Commissioner to Guyana, Ross Denny, had announced that a British Chamber of Commerce would be established here.

On his time in Guyana he said “I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to spend some time in this beautiful and fascinating country, and at an important time in its history. I’ve been made to feel very welcome wherever I went and I was fortunate to be able to visit several places in the hinterland where the UK is funding important projects, and of course to meet a wide range of people. I was a little surprised on my arrival to find that there was no British chamber of commerce, and set the creation of one as a high priority for my time. I’m delighted that this is now a reality.

“The Chamber will be launched officially when Jane Miller arrives and has been accredited. It will be a bilateral chamber, as much for the benefit of Guyanese businesses interested in developing trading links with the UK as it is for British businesses looking to trade with and invest in Guyana. My hope is that the presence of an active bilateral chamber will lead to even greater commercial activity between our two countries, for the benefit of both our peoples. The bilateral relationship is in great shape, with many shared interests and values. I wish my replacement every success in taking this forward.”

And last month, during the Guyana Energy Conference and Expo 2023, the High Commission here announced that the Chamber had been created, to promote and facilitate commercial business opportunities and mutually beneficial relationships between the UK and its largest trading partner in the Caribbean.

From left: Jane Miller, OBE (British HC to Guyana), David Rutley (UK MP), Guyana Prime Minister Mark Phillips, and BritCham Guyana Chair Faizal Khan at the event.

A release from BritCham said that alongside the promotion and facilitation of bilateral trade and commerce, the Chamber will foster an open networking environment where companies can engage and discuss issues impacting their businesses and UK-Guyana trade.

The release said that the new organisation will be chaired by Guysons Group CEO and UK/Guyanese citizen Faizal Khan, supported by a board of leading business executives with close ties to both countries. It has its offices at Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre in Georgetown and full details of the board will be announced in due course. Khan said that BritCham Guyana aims to become the trusted partner and platform for fostering business between the UK and Guyana.

The CEO had explained that BritCham Guyana will offer its members increased access to and knowledge of each market, investment opportunities, expert and technical skills, advisory services, a wide range of industry, policy and regulatory insights across sectors, and competitive pricing.

“We would like to congratulate BritCham Guyana and we look forward to working with the team,” said Anne-Marie Martin, Director of Membership UK & International at the British Chambers of Commerce.

The release noted that Guyana is the UK’s largest trade partner in the Caribbean. In 2021, the country accounted for 21.6% of all the UK’s trade with the Caribbean and, to date, there has been a 45.9% increase in trade among the two nations for 2022.



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