Concerns of Moruca indigenous leaders addressed by Petroleum Dept.
DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Indigenous leaders of the Region One Subdistrict – Moruca were given the opportunity to raise their concerns and get clarity on issues relating to the oil and gas industry.
On Tuesday, the Indigenous leaders questioned the Deputy Director of the Petroleum Department, which falls under the purview of Ministry of Natural Resources, Nicholas Chuck-a-Sang. The Q&A occurred during a Village Improvement Plan (VIP) workshop hosted by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs in Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa’s Toshao, Sherwin Abrams, queried the possibility of an oil spill and measures to effectively address such an occurrence. Chuck-a-Sang assured the leaders that the probability, of a spill hitting the coast, is low.
“There is about a 10 percent chance that that oil will hit our coast. The vast majority of it is likely to go further perhaps into Venezuela and to Trinidad,” Chuck-a-Sang pointed out. This probability is based on a computer-generated modelling.
Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “polluter pay principle” ensures that oil companies have contingencies in place in the eventuality of an oil spill, Chuck-a-Sang assured.
“We have seen a lot of drills by them [oil company], we’ve seen a lot of equipment and there is a substantial amount of resources that are put aside for dealing with oil and gas spills,” Chuck-a-Sang noted.
The government is developing a National Oil Spill Response Strategy. The Guyana Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is leading stakeholders, which includes ExxonMobil, in that development.
Concerns were also raised about the management of the natural resource, to which Chuck-a-Sang noted, Guyana is fortunate to be guided by industry leaders in developing Guyana’s oil and gas sector.
“We’re starting at a point where we can make everything fresh, brilliant, best practice of today and all of that so it is a great opportunity for us to get it right, certainly with public consultation.” He added that the oil and gas industry will be a “huge money earner” for the country.
Indigenous leaders were encouraged by Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valarie Garrido-Lowe, to ensure their VIP takes these new developments into consideration.
“This is where you have to speak … about everything that can make you a liveable life, that can put a smile on your face. This is the forum where you can develop those plans in anticipation of the proceeds [from oil and gas],” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.
By: Tiffny Rhodius
Click through to see pictures of Minister Garrido-Lowe in Region One https://www.flickr.com/photos/142936155@N03/albums/72157691432970832