Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bisssessar has advised Guyana to be very careful as its builds its new found gas and energy sector as she criticised the decision of Government to shut down the state-owned oil company, Petrotrin.
Speaking at the 23rd Annual Awards and Dinner of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Persad Bissessar said the decision to shut down the loss making oil company had generated many questions which remain unanswered about the supply of imported fuels, exported crude and mystery of what is actually happening to the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
“These questions remain unanswered and continue to concern the Opposition, many citizens, as well as the multinational and foreign investors. As leader of the Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, I remain firm in my position that this decision is not in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago.
“This is apparent in the position in which we now find ourselves—a high energy consumer now made even more vulnerable in a volatile sector, tethered to the vagaries of international superpowers that will now control our energy requirements and outputs,” she said, adding that she is hopeful and “fairly certain that this is one path that Guyana should never find itself on.
“Guyana should, above all other things, especially having been an importer of energy for so long, work towards ensuring its energy security and energy independence”
Persad Bissessar said “these are critical to a country’s success and indeed future”.
She noted that since 2015, US-oil giant Exxon has been successful in its exploration for oil and gas and Guyana is now a global exploration hotspot.
With oil production to begin in 2020 and expected to ramp up to 750,000 barrels of oil a day by 2025, Persad-Bussessar recommended some policy directions for the authorities in Guyana.
“Firstly, I recommend that leadership at the governmental level needs to be based on a national vision for the improvement of the lives of all in your society. I recommend a National Policy for Development of Guyana, one that includes contributions from the Government, the Opposition, Labour, Civil Society and the business community be pursued,” she said.
According to the Opposition Leader, in T&T, although attempts at this process have been made with policies such as Vision 2020 and now Vision 2030, “these are not inclusive, and have been shown to be biased in favour of a particular political ideology.”
She added: “Such unbalanced policies do not benefit the people of the country. The sale and production of resources must be able to not just move the GDP rankings but have a tangible effect on the daily life of every single citizen in the country.
“Leaders will need to make bold and brave decisions to move industries forward whilst at all times ensuring that the social safety net covers the most vulnerable in society,” Persad Bissessar said, noting that this task also requires vision and agility in navigating the perils of volatile pricing and resource availability. (CMC)