“You can have all the rules in the world, and even strong oversight committees. But what does it mean the in the grand scheme (of things) when politicians in your country are already displaying a lack of respect for existing rules and even the trust of its citizens?”
Those thought-provoking words were expressed by Brazil’s leading political analyst, Thiago de Aragao during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard. Aragao sought to stress that while strong rules are key to the good governance of oil wealth, it is hinged on the competence and willingness to policy leaders to follow them.
He said, “Guyanese, like many citizens of emerging economies have been calling for stronger institutions to ensure transparency and accountability. Can you name one that has been improved or is almost at the end of that process? ”
As Aragao highlighted this, he said that Guyanese need to be realistic in their expectations of the oil wealth that it will receive as well as the “management style that will be exhibited by the authorities.”
Citing his home country as an example, Aragao said that Brazil has strong laws/ rules in place regarding the management of oil but they are hardly respected. He noted that other countries in the same boat include: Papua New Guinea, Chad, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Argentina.
Further to this, the Brazilian analyst who has been following the oil and gas proceedings in Guyana says that the country is still to catch up on the fundamentals. In this regard, he said there is no mechanism in place to ensure there is a light of transparency on the true beneficial owners of companies, the commercial interests of officials and their associates, the deals governments make, and the detailed project-level payments companies make to governments.
He said that Guyana is still to strengthen the implementation of laws and regulations in extractives—particularly in areas related to the environment, local communities and sub-national revenue sharing.
The Director of the Latin American Political Risk Analysis concluded, “This says a lot about where the country is headed in terms of governance and proves my point that Guyana can fail at oil. All the troubling signs are right there.”