Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds insists that even with General and Regional Elections scheduled to be held within three months, the preparations for first oil should not slow down.
He made this declaration during an interview with the Guyana Standard. The University Professor opined that based on his “groundwork”; there has been the general feeling that the targets of the Department of Energy need to be altered since the respective parties have been catapulted into election campaign mode.
Dr. Hinds said, “But I disagree with this. We are already far behind and that in itself is utterly disappointing. It is a shame. Can you imagine what three more months of stalling would do? Some say that the government is in caretaker mode and spending beyond routine needs to come to a halt. But that is rubbish! The preparations for oil and gas are pressing. If anything, we need to be moving at a faster pace…”
The political activist said that most important among the oil preparation efforts is the need to have a regulatory framework in place.
Regulatory frameworks determine the responsibilities for actors involved in the industry, including the private sector and the government; defining certain requirements regarding exploration, field development activities, technologies applied, the number of operators, the role of oil companies; and areas to be monitored.
The columnist said, “While I advocate that the Department of Energy be allowed to continue with its agenda, it still has a responsibility to be transparent, as there are many opportunities now for vested interests to influence the regulatory process…But Guyana must be allowed to move forward with programmes that will promote transparency throughout the entire decision-making process for oil, from new laws to rules regulating revenue management and spending.”
Dr. Hinds noted that it is also important to ensure stakeholder participation in making policies and regulations regarding the exploration, exploitation and distribution of oil, gas and mining benefits, and the enactment of clear rules governing the negotiations between the government and extractive companies.
The WPA Executive Member said, too, that spending on capacity building and training of regulators in improving oil governance must be allowed to continue without opposition.