PPP crafts manifesto, “bi-partisan” management of oil and gas sector promised
– industry will not be used as political football – Opposition Leader
As plans are moving apace to complete and ultimately presents its manifesto for the upcoming elections in Guyana, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) already has major plans for the oil and gas sector.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, at his weekly press briefing on Thursday explained that the PPP, as part of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of the country’s oil and gas sector, will guarantee that members of other political parties be a part of its management once the party gets back into office.
“So we have been looking at the oil industry and the oil and gas sector and we have been exploring models as to how this sector will be transparently managed. In fact, we would like to see the sector, even with a PPP Government in office, managed in a bi-partisan way where it rises above politics. That is the oil and gas industry and that the resources are used to benefit all Guyanese.”
According to Jagdeo, the PPP has been exploring various models for the oil and gas industry that it will be implementing, should that party be returned to Government following the upcoming general elections that are to be held in the country.
He noted that despite whatever advice it would receive from persons outside of the country with regard to the operations, management, and best practices for the future of Guyana’s oil and gas sector, the buck stops with Guyanese managing it.
“We are not slaves to consultants who often work for the oil companies. We have been exploring ourselves, in house, using and studying a lot the experience of various countries, of course seeking technical advice and we will seek advice but the final decision will be made by the Government of Guyana. A decision that is appropriate for our country and that would benefit our people and not something that any consultant will come in, cut and paste, and hand over to us.”
He stated that more often than not, in such situations the advice by consultants reflect the interests more in the favour of foreign companies than citizens of that country so the PPP will ensure that this does not occur in Guyana.
The Opposition Leader also pointed out that his party has been working extensively on preparing several features of a local content policy in relation to the oil and gas industry that can be implemented once it is returned to power.
“Benefits must be felt by all people wherever they live. Benefits should not be just for a few folks or for those who are wealthy but should benefit everyone from every sector… every ethnic group, every class,” he added.
Presently, a Department of Energy is being established at the Ministry of the Presidency to handle the pending oil and has sector. The department is being overseen by Dr Mark Bynoe who in turn reports to his superiors, including Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and President David Granger.
Come 2020, ExxonMobil is expected to pump millions of barrels of oil from the Stabroek Block – a phenomenon that can make Guyana one of the richest oil nations in the work.
But since the announcement of the find, there have been concerns with respect to the management of the country’s wealth with the recommendation of setting up the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to manage its impending revenues.