Honest govt needed for equal distribution of oil wealth – Min. Ramjattan

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, February 16, 2019

As Guyana gears up for a major economic transformation from the upcoming oil wealth, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan today said that an honest government is needed to allow for the equal distribution of wealth to every Guyanese.

This can happen only if the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change [APNU+AFC] government is the steward of such resource, Minister Ramjattan underscored.

The minister was speaking to residents of Kaicumbay, Region 9 this morning. He is part of a ministerial outreach to the Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo Region over the weekend.

Through translator, Senior Councillor Ovid Brown, Minister Ramjattan said come 2020 – the year of first oil, Guyana will begin a journey of remarkable economic success as the first production by US oil giant ExxonMobil is expected to rake in a whopping $73Billion (US$350M).

“That is more money than rice, sugar and bauxite today bring in for Guyana,” he told the residents.

Estimations by international financial institutions, have positioned Guyana as the richest country within the Americas, by the next decade. Such estimations, Minister Ramjattan noted, is enough for one to understand the critical need to take care of such wealth.

“What we will need then is an honest government to ensure that that money is spread around the country, spread around all the regions and especially underdeveloped regions… You put the money in the wrong government’s hand; you will end up like other countries with unethical leaders,” he said.

He said Guyana has already experienced years of corruption under the former regime, even without oil. It is therefore unthinkable what will happen, should they return to power.

Minister Ramjattan said monies will be used for improved infrastructure, including roads and bridges, better health care facilities, and improved quality in education.

The Public Security Minister said the government still wants to see the development of agriculture in the region and as such portions of the oil funds will be pumped in sectors such as agriculture.

We also want our young people to take education seriously because, with that kind of money, we will need an educated Guyana to manage the resources coming in.

Meanwhile, addressing the December 21 vote and its consequence, Minister Ramjattan reiterated that the government will remain until the next elections.

“We are going to await the decision of the courts and the readiness of GECOM as to when they have a brand-new clean list before we go to elections. In the meantime, as we continue in government, we will provide all the services to the people of Guyana.”

Alexis Rodney

Images: Anil Seelall