Georgetown, rest of country to receive economic lift, but standards must improve as oil, gas sector expands -Minister Trotman
GINA, Guyana, Monday, May 29, 2017
The benefits for Georgetown and the coffers of the municipality were highlighted today, when Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman gave a power-point presentation on the oil and gas sector. The presentation focused on the potential benefits for the country, residents and the municipality in the future.
Minister Trotman initially outlined the Ministry’s mandate, vision, tasks of its various agencies and the latest developments of the sector.
Describing the oil discoveries by Exxonmobil as, “the largest in the last decade”, Minister Trotman said that the capital city Georgetown will have its fortunes boosted. He cited the need for standards to “be lifted” as the sector expands.
Georgetown, the Minister assured, would see benefits, but the services being offered would have to be of a higher standard, Minister Trotman emphasised.
He cited the example of Trinidad, the top Caribbean oil producer. That country, he noted has employed thousands of additional persons indirectly in the petroleum sector. Just as Trinidad has sought to ensure world class standards, so too must Guyana, and Georgetown in particular, he pointed out.
As the capital and seat of commerce, the Minister stressed that it was important to recognise that services such as schools, restaurants, hotels and other service providers would have to improve their standards. It is in this framework he explained that his Ministry, in partnership with the Ministries of Education and Finance will soon sign a $100M agreement with the University of Guyana to develop its skills, including engineering, information technology and more.
Contrary to common belief, the Minister pointed out that other skills will be in demand. “You need accountants, you need lawyers, you need people to supply batteries and tyres for vehicles. You’ll need caterers, laundry services, machine services and photocopying.”
The influx of expatriates, is already evident at many hotels, Minister Trotman stated as he re-emphasised the need for higher standards. “They will need to house their families when they come. Schools will be looked for; transportation, security so we can expect that services and provision of goods will be lifted, throughout and the demand will increase.”
Mention was also made of Exxonmobil’s procuring the use of a city wharf as a shore supply base facility. This will be used to facilitate operations of the company.
The presentation was welcomed by the Mayor Patricia Chase- Green and city councillors, several of whom raised questions about the municipality’s role in the future when oil production begins by the projected year of 2020 . Questions were also raised about the Government’s role in ensuring that a “One –Stop Shop” operation is established to facilitate persons interested in being employed directly or indirectly in the sector, the use of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, environmental issues, investments in city infrastructure and further afield, and training to equip interested persons with the skills needed for the sector.
Minister Trotman committed to ensuring that his Ministry will move to establish a One Stop Shop for interested persons, and added that he and his team of staffers will visit communities across Guyana to do similar presentations and answer any questions that persons may have about the sector and the opportunities for employment.
By: Paul Mc Adam