Region Ten residents updated on oil, gas developments
GINA, Guyana, Thursday, May 25, 2017
Residents of Linden and the surrounding Region 10 communities were updated on the expanding oil and gas sector, and opportunities it will offer by Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman. The Minister, accompanied by several ministry officials, interacted with stakeholders on Wednesday evening at the Mackenzie High School.
Highlighting the oil and gas sector’s progress, Minister Trotman cited the importance of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and its future benefits to Guyanese. He explained, “It will provide for budgetary support, if, for example, you declare a $200 billion budget for a year and there has been a flood or some other situation you did not anticipate, you may be able to enter the fund and to bring you back to the $200 billion.”
There will also be a strong focus on developing infrastructure, he added. He cited a few “stand out” projects. “One of them is a road from Lethem to Linden; second is the bridging of the Essequibo River at Kurupukari, and we also have to have a port more than likely somewhere in the Essequibo River. We anticipate that we will have a major hydro-power project and perhaps one other to supplement the major project. We would like to ensure that two and 300 years from now, Guyanese can benefit from this revenue, and that we don’t try to spend it all in 20 or 25 years.”
Minister Trotman reminded that oil is a non-renewable resource hence there is need to be careful when spending what income will be earned
from the sector. He stated that Government will spend a lot on social programmes such as healthcare and education, “So that every little boy or girl, it doesn’t matter who you are, can have the best education, that you can get in any part of the world because we will now be able to afford it, and we want to say the same for the health care system. Young or old, it doesn’t matter, we will all have the best health care that is available in any part of the world.”
The environment will also be catered for, he added. “The Environmental Protection Act does provide for an Environmental Trust Fund so we are going to ensure that a percentage of the revenue goes into that fund each year, and lastly, we want to ensure that every region gets a percentage; regions and citizens will be guaranteed by law a percentage of the revenue, so it should not matter who is in government or who is the president or minister.”
Minister Trotman also announced that a supply base will be constructed locally to cater for the wells being drilled and government is looking at sites between Essequibo and Berbice. This, he noted, will create many spin-off jobs for caterers, truck drivers, labourers, machine operators and more. He emphasised that Government will do all that it can to ensure that Guyanese benefit as much as possible from the oil and gas revenues.
By: Paul McAdam