Govt. hosts fruitful oil and gas high-level ministerial caucus
DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Acting Prime Minister, Carl Greenidge, today, described the high-level ministerial caucus on the oil and gas sector as an “exercise in realism” which addressed in detail the peculiarities of the sector and how the resources can be prudently managed.
The ministerial caucus which featured presentations by a number of experts in the field, including renowned Professor of Economics, Oxford University Sir Paul Collier, allowed President David Granger and ministers of government to grasp an understanding of what is happening in other countries around the world as it relates to oil and gas.
According to Minister Greenidge the event provided a platform to hear “what the analysis by the experts is, about what to look out for, how to decide on policy…the full spectrum of things including how to deal with, sometimes, what appears to be the predations and ravages of a press.”
What is clear, the Minister said, is that many of the issues that Guyana currently faces as it prepares for the new industry are not unique but are common in other oil and gas producing countries.
“There were exchanges of ideas, what the challenges are, how to deal with them, fiscal policy, information policy, how to engage stakeholders,” he noted.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said the event achieved its objective of having informal, uninhibited discussions with the experts on oil and gas governance, wealth resource management, sovereign wealth funds and effective communication with citizens.
“How do we put aside suspicions about all kinds of backdoor deals and so forth, so it was good for us to talk amongst ourselves, it was good for us to talk to experts about what obtains elsewhere and to realise also that we are not too far off the radar or that we are in no different place from other countries two years after a discovery was made,” Minister Trotman explained.
He believes that the discussions were critical and timely given that it precedes the establishment of the Department of Energy. Minister Trotman expressed satisfaction that as the Minister of Natural Resources he was able to help with the event’s organisation.
He said the event is a great start to a series of similar events, which will feature in-depth discussions on specific areas such as regulatory systems and cost recovery.
According to Minister Trotman the participation by Sir Paul Collier is indicative of the Government’s credibility in the path they are pursuing in preparation for the sector.
“A man of his calibre is not going to associate his name and reputation with something that is rotten, bad or negative,” he reasoned.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan echoed similar sentiments, specifically on ways to manage the sector, given Guyana’s peculiarities, particularly in the context of the border controversy with Venezuela.
Minister Ramjattan pointed out that, “we got examples of what some of the best practices in a number of countries are and how they prepared themselves for it and I must say that compared to what we were told, we are doing extraordinarily well. So, the bad press that we get related to this matter is not necessarily accurate in their pronouncements.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said his ministry as part of its preparatory efforts will be concentrating on the core infrastructure projects, for example linking the coast to the hinterland, which will create more access.
“That was the message that I took and which I will work towards implementing going forward,” he noted.
By: Stacy Carmichael