The recent announcement of a second major Oil reserve discovery for Guyana is welcome news for all Guyanese, it gives us all hope that the ‘better life’ will soon materialise, it also gives us all worry that the culture of corruption that has ensnared our political class from the first day of independence to this present day will suck our hopes and dreams down its bottomless vortex and we become a nation of few mega-rich families and a massive class of under-privileged citizens. Our every effort must be to seek to avoid this fate.
Whilst campaigning during the last general election, President David Granger made numerous allusions to the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to protect the proceeds from the new pillar of our economy.
I am sure the country would welcome more specific information on this Fund. My research shows that Funds of this nature can take many forms, the much maligned NICIL is a Sovereign Wealth Fund as defined ‘A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) consists of pools of money derived from a country’s reserves, which are set aside for investment purposes that will benefit the country’s economy and citizens.’
In light of allegations of mismanagement, secret deals and corruption levelled by President Granger while in opposition and the difficulty to obtain information on investments and returns to this day, I would ask that the President address the nation to inform us all of exactly what type of SWF his administration would be setting up, where it would be based, who would administer it, who would have oversight, what laws will govern it and what type of investments it would be limited to making.
One can only hope it will be managed by a reputable institution such as the World Bank and free from the whims of any present or future political party that forms subsequent administrations in our nation’s future.
We have not enjoyed a happy history with political appointees and political influence on business decisions. I fully support the creation of a SWF that is managed as outlined above and would offer a word of warning to those, including our politicians, who may have delusions of grandeur and private designs on our nation’s future wealth, the world has changed greatly, no longer does it tolerate the theft of a nation’s wealth by unscrupulous individuals.