Promising transformational impacts from the looming oil wealth in the short or medium term, without lending any consideration to the poor state of governance systems, is a recipe for mistrust beyond repair for the APNU+AFC Party.
This was recently noted by Senior Lecturer at the University of Guyana, Dr. Thomas Singh during an interview with the Guyana Standard. With the aforementioned as his premise, Dr.Singh said it becomes even more imperative that the public’s expectations are moderated.
The economist said, “When politicians deliver inflated messages about the transformational potential of the industry, it sends a dangerous signal about the policy leaders we are dealing with. I strongly believe that where significant discoveries have been made, both government and opposition parties need to be realistic in statements about the scale and speed of monetizing the new discoveries. Our politicians should coordinate their message with civil servants (and industry stakeholders), who can ground it in technical assessments of the resource base.”
Dr. Singh added, “They must also manage the public’s expectations regarding job creation and profit windfalls. So our leaders should not be telling citizens that natural resources will transform their lives or the economy when significant uncertainty remains about strengthening all the government systems that will govern the money to come. Such promises may deliver fleeting political benefits but will only exacerbate long-term distrust. Until this can be addressed, the government needs to stop making false promises…”
The economist also noted that, too, that the government’s national vision for the country and for the petroleum sector must be informed by the need to manage the expectations of the public as well as be underpinned by several values. He listed some of these to be setting higher standards of transparency, aiming to have a high performing and professional oil and gas industry, protecting the environment and natural resources, and an inclusive and fair redistribution of wealth.