Stakeholders briefed on EITI process

As Guyana accelerates efforts to apply for membership to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

A section of the gathering at the event
A section of the gathering at the event

(EITI), the Natural Resources Ministry hosted a national symposium on Wednesday to engage stakeholders about the process.

Guyana, with an economy heavily based on extractive industries, and soon to become a oil and gas producing nation, has its eye set on becoming a member of the globally-recognised governance framework for the natural resources sector, EITI.

During the symposium, stakeholders inclusive of Government officials, members of the Private Sector and civil society were on Wednesday briefed on what this process means to Guyana and their role in its success.

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, who delivered the key remarks, underscored the importance of the interactive forum.

“The future of Guyana’s EITI is yet to be written but by sharing and learning lessons today (Wednesday) we will expeditiously increase the likelihood of the successful management of our national patrimony,” he emphasised.

He reiterated that Guyana stands ready to implement EITI in order to ensure the transparent utilisation of revenue from the country’s raw material which will aid in its sustainable development.

Civil Society Representative Mike McCormack noted that the road ahead will be challenging but with commitment, the outcome will be successful.

“If this is going to work, we have to start creating some awkward alliances and see compromise as courageous rather than a weakness. We need to start relating in ways that we customarily tend to avoid because if we don’t build momentum and if this approach is not difficult, it means we aren’t dealing with the right issues or we’ve got the wrong people dealing with the issues,” he explained.

Government aims to submit its application for membership to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in November.

Ana Maria Rodriguez, a consultant from the World Bank, is in Guyana assisting the Ministry to establish a multistakeholder group (MSG).

The establishment of this group is the final step towards becoming a member of EITI.

Private Sector Representative Hilbert Shields, during his remarks, explained the importance of such a body.

“Its ultimate objective is to provide information provided to an independent body to provide info that society can look at to say this is honest and objective information so rather to start to debate, do I believe them or are they lying or they have a vested interest, we can move the dialogue to say okay is this the best deal for the country is this a good trade-off between extraction of resources and risked repaid in terms of the environment and other social impacts,” he stated.

The 17-member group will comprise five Government representatives, five representatives from the industry and seven civil society representatives.

Already Larry Carryl, Dr Mellissa Ifill, Gomin Camacho, Mike McCormack, Jocelyn Dow, Paul Atkinson, Curtis Bernard and Sharon Atkinson were identified from civil society.

EITI is a global organisation of 51 member countries, which have subscribed to establishing, upholding and promoting the standards and tenets of good governance, transparency and accountability in the management of extractive industries.

At its core, the EITI promotes the belief that natural resources belong to the people and are to be extracted and managed on behalf of the people; both for current and future generations. The MSG consists of a tripartite of Government, civil society and industries stakeholders.