Wales to become 1 of the largest industrial zones in Caribbean – Natural Resources Minister

– as Opposition efforts to delay project defeated in parliamentary vote

The Wales Development Zone (WDZ) will be one of the largest industrial zones in the Caribbean. This was revealed by Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat in his contributions in the National Assembly prior to the defeat of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) motion to delay the gas-to-shore project.

The Wales Development Zone

Several Members of Parliament (MPs) from both sides of the aisle spoke on the motion, which came in the name of Opposition MP David Patterson. When it was his turn, Minister Bharrat emphasised the benefits of the gas-to-shore project and WDZ.
“Our biggest problem and hindrance to further development and to develop our country at a faster rate is the cost and reliability of power generation. Yes, we heard a lot of comments about blackouts,” he said.
“For decades now we’ve been experiencing blackouts. But this project will put an end to that. Do we want our children to continue and come to the Parliament and to live in blackouts? Do we want the next set of parliamentarians to come in here and still speak about blackouts? Or do we want to end it?”
Additionally, the Minister stressed that Wales was deemed the best location for the pipeline and the Wales Development Zone, which he said would be one of the largest industrial parks in the Caribbean.
“We’re not only building a power plant. We have what we call the Wales Development Area. And in the Wales Development Area, the power plant is one component. But that area will be earmarked to be one of the largest manufacturing industrial parks in the Caribbean, if I may say so.”
“Because we will have cheap, reliable, clean power available right there. We have access to the Demerara River right there. We have the availability of land, most importantly. We have labour force,” Minister Bharrat said.
The Minister also noted the importance of the project from an environmental standpoint, since it can serve as a transitionary energy source for Guyana’s efforts to go green and advance its goals of 70 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.
“The conversation on the environment and cutting emissions has grown of recent. And because of that, we recognise that the gas-to-energy project is a move in the right direction. It is transition energy and a part of our energy mix, to ensure we supply power for development to take place.”
He also referenced APNU/AFC MP Dr Karen Cummings, who in an earlier presentation on the Human Organ Transplant Bill had called on the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to apply the brakes on the passage of the Bill and send it to the Special Select Committee.
“I’m happy that the honourable member, Dr Cummings, is still here. It was mentioned by the honourable member when she was on the floor earlier on a previous Bill, when she said that we need to mash the breaks and slow down the pace. And that is a secret that was let out today by the APNU/AFC,” the Natural Resources Minister said.
“The pace at which we’re moving, they cannot handle it. Even though we’re in the midst of a pandemic and there was a massive flood last year, the pace at which people’s lives are improving is unprecedented. And the problem is the APNU/AFC is getting worried by the day,” Minister Bharrat added.
The motion, which if successful would have put the project on hold and sent it to a Special Select Committee, was put to the vote and a division called, with the Government side ultimately emerging victorious.
The motion was defeated by a 32 to 27 margin. According to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Issacs, one unnamed member declined to vote.