‘Ignore ‘doom and gloom’ about oil and gas sector’- Minister Gaskin

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, April 1, 2018

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin is urging Guyanese to ignore the ‘doom and gloom’ being peddled by persons about the oil and gas sector. Rather, the minister is advising that persons must focus on the positive benefits this evolving industry will bring to Guyana.

“That is why I have been making a lot of comments lately against those who seem bent on killing the spirit and hopes of the people of this country when it comes to oil and gas. There is a lot of doom and gloom about what Guyana isn’t getting, but the truth is, what Guyana is getting is what we should be the focused on.”

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin and Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock addressing the development of the oil and gas sector in Guyana on Radio Lethem, 95.1 FM.

Minister Gaskin, who also has the responsibility for Tourism, was speaking on 95.1FM Radio Lethem in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), today. He was accompanied by Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock.

“We have a ‘rough diamond’ that needs polishing, and we have to polish this rough diamond because it is ours, and no one is going to do it for us, everyone else who is interested in our rough diamond or our rough resources, they just want to take it and sell; and if we want to do better, then we have to do it ourselves. This requires a better understanding than what currently exists, of developing certain industries and for instance, the benefits that the oil and gas sector can bring to Guyana,” Minister Gaskin emphasized.

The minister added that Guyana’s oil and gas wealth is so vast that it can help the country to transform those other industries that need a boost or are struggling to get established.

“Agriculture is one of the key areas; we have always been an agricultural economy and there’s no reason why we should stop. In fact, there is every reason we should do it as best as we can, we have the fertile land, fresh water, a workforce that understands how to grow food and how to plant and reap, we understand agriculture.  In all of the regions in Guyana agriculture is a major source of income, and oil and gas can deliver that.”

According to the Business Minister, the government’s revenue will increase considerably once the oil starts to flow. He also underscored that while the development of the oil and gas sector will have a huge impact on the country, the administration is not “just sitting back and waiting for things to happen.”

“We cannot ignore that impact and we must prepare ourselves for it. It will transform our economy and we, the people of Guyana, who own the oil along with all the other natural resources, need to find a way to benefit from those developments and we can only benefit from it, if we understand the opportunities that will be created and if we understand that it is something big and something good and that there is scope for us to benefit.”

Minister Gaskin said the ExxonMobil Contract will see Guyana receiving a fair amount of revenue, and while as a country “we can get more, no deal is perfect”. However, he noted that the revenues the country will receive, in terms of the size of our population, per capita, are among the highest in the world; therefore, “we need to stop squabbling over how much more we could have gotten and start planning for what we will do with those resources.”

Minister Gaskin warned that it is extremely important that Guyanese approach the issue with a positive mindset, knowing that better is to come and realising that they are the beneficiaries of what lies ahead.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

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