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Ambassador Continued from Page 5 “In the United States, Cuba is a domestic political issue, but in the Caribbean, it’s not,” he said. “In the U.S., both Republican and Democratic administrations through the ages have maintained a certain posture against Cuba. However, in the Caribbean we tend to see things differently.” Some Americans have also criticized the Guyanese government for not doing enough to stop violent crime. Asked about that, Karran acknowledged that security is indeed an issue — but that it’s also a question of perception. “The percentage of crime victims relative to the number of visitors to Guyana is not sufficient to warrant any kind of undue concern,” he said. In recent years, Guyana has chaired UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and the Rio Group, a regional bloc that has since been merged into the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC in Spanish). In addition, said Karran, the country has become a leading voice within Caricom (the Caribbean Community), which itself has always wanted to maintain a high profile within the OAS. When not focused on his job, Karran enjoys spending time with his wife Donna and their three children: Cassandra, Amanda and Kevin. He also has a number of philanthropic interests. Back in Guyana, Karran chaired the appeals tribunal of the National Insurance Scheme; he was also on the board of the University of Guyana and is still a member of the Georgetown Legal Aid Clinic, a nonprofit group that provides free legal representation to indigent Guyanese. Here in Washington, Karran currently serves as vice

Call Centers Continued from Page 21 Clear Connect Inc. was established in 2007 by local businessman Adrian Collins, who had offshore experience in the Philippines, India, Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Collins started in the first floor of a Georgetown office building with 36 employees, and he has since built Clear Connect into a successful operation with a local workforce of 200. “As near-shore leaders in this industry, we rank second to none in providing principled customer management and BPO solutions tailored to specific industry verticles,” says the company website. “We strive to improve operational efficiencies, achieve key performance metrics and reduce costs in the industries of communications and media, financial services, health care, retail, travel and hospitality.” Another company, Londonbased Sambora Communications, offers its clients inbound sales and service, retention programs, customer satisfaction surveys, lifestyle surveys and debt collection services from its Georgetown branch office. Sambora’s chairman is Ralph

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The Guyanese Embassy in Washington distributes literature such as these pamphlets and brochures to promote tourism and investment in Guyana.

chairman of the Young Americas Business Trust, a locally based NGO that fosters entrepreneurship among youth across the Americas — and whose models have been replicated worldwide. Given his active schedule, don’t expect the ambassador from Georgetown to retire anytime soon. This year, the Guyanese government formally notified the OAS of its intention to nominate Karran to replace Surinamese diplomat Albert Ramdin as the body’s assistant secretary-general when Ramdin’s term

Ramkarran, the senior partner in Cameron & Shepherd, Guyana’s oldest and best-known law firm, as well as the outgoing speaker of the National Assembly. The company says it plans to expand its workforce to as many as 1,000 employees, citing “Guyana’s reliable and secure communications network” as well as its Englishspeaking workforce and its people’s neutral accent. Sambora adds: “Our low-cost base in Guyana allows us to provide high-quality solutions at costs that are competitive with all offshore locations.” Qualfon’s Marrow said that when factoring in all operating costs, Guyana is still about 10 percent cheaper than the Philippines and 30 percent cheaper than Costa Rica. “In Costa Rica, Spanish is the native language and we’re trying to hire English-speaking people. Only a small percentage of Costa Ricans speak English, and an even smaller percentage speak English fluently, and they command a premium for their services.” In Guyana, the call center position is a mid-level or above opportunity. “Comparatively speaking,” Marrow said, “they earn what an accountant with a few years’ experience or mid-level manager would make.”

Photo: Larry Luxner

expires in 2015. If his nomination is approved, Karran would become the first Guyanese to occupy a senior position within the OAS since the organization’s founding in 1948. “We have a very unique position in the hemisphere because we’re part of the West Indies and the Englishspeaking Caribbean, but we also have a South American identity,” Karran said, explaining why Guyana deserves such a prominent post in the 35-member organization. “We’re located on the continent, and we have always seen ourselves as a bridge between the Caribbean and South America. This is reflected in our foreign policy initiatives.”

ocean saratoga

Oil and Gas Continued from Page 11 just over a decade ago, when foreign investors generally stayed away from the area because of a dispute between Guyana and Suriname — its neighbor to the east — that nearly sparked a border war back in June 2000. That was when the Surinamese Navy sent a gunboat to forcibly evict an oil rig contracted by CGX, claiming it was drilling in Suriname’s territorial waters. Seven years later, however, the United Nations International Law of the Sea Tribunal settled the dispute, awarding Guyana 12,800 square miles

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of the contested area and Suriname 6,900 square miles. Odeen Ishmael, who was Guyana’s ambassador in Washington at the time and is now envoy to Kuwait, told us that his country could emulate the success of other oil regional exporters within the framework of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). “While the maritime boundary between both countries is now clearly demarcated and it is clear that both countries have their own pro­grams for exploiting this resource,” he said, “it will be of immense signi­ficance if they decide on an enterprise involving some form of cooperation, since the petroleum belt runs through the territories of both nations.”

April • May 2013

Guyana  

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