The economic cloud that continues to hover over Venezuela is worrying many and, as a consequence, analysts are now debating the effects of Venezuela’s collapsing oil industry on Caribbean countries which have benefited from the Spanish speaking nation’s once-revered PetroCaribe deal. The question now lingers on how likely it is for Guyana, a burgeoning star in the industry, to step in to fill the void.
Oil and Gas Consultant, Dr. Jan Mangal was firm in the position he shared on this matter with www.thedialogue.com, a Latin American agency that focuses on the happenings of the energy sector. Dr. Mangal said that Guyana should not step in to fill the void left by PetroCaribe, a 2005 oil alliance between 17 Caribbean states and Venezuela to purchase oil from the latter on conditions of preferential payment.
The Oil and Gas Consultant said, “Guyana cannot yet regulate its own industry — if it tries to play the geopolitical oil game, it will be a mess. But there are forces pushing for this use of Guyana’s oil. Just like PetroCaribe feeds corruption around the region, there are forces pushing Guyana to waste its oil wealth in a similar manner.”
Dr. Mangal continued, “Instead, Guyana can assist the Caribbean in the areas of education, health, technology (including energy), agriculture and trade. Guyana can be and always could have been, the beacon for the Caribbean. But narrow-minded and visionless leadership in Guyana has kept the country closed since independence in the 1960s. My vision for Guyana is a little Switzerland or Singapore.”
Dr. Mangal added that Guyana is small but uniquely situated and can be a doorway between the Anglophone countries and South America. He said, too, that Brazil is an immense opportunity for Guyana, and the trade facilitated by opening up Guyana would have a large sustainable impact on its Caribbean neighbours.