Be it political rhetoric or patriotism, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is claiming to be genuinely worried about the current state of affairs regarding Guyana’s preparedness for oil. With the absence of the needed policies, Jagdeo says that if the government continues along its current trajectory, Guyanese will not benefit from their country’s oil sector the way they should.

Jagdeo said this recently in response to questions from Guyana Standard.

The major oil finds offshore Guyana has put the country on the map. Most oil majors are looking to make deals with this small nation. Further, several countries are looking to secure government to government arrangements in an effort to foster opportunities for their people.

President David Granger is officially in charge of the sector. Therefore, all major negotiations should require his input. However, the President is still in recovery from chemotherapy treatment and has been ordered by his doctors to carry a light workload.

This leaves a gap.

Speaking on the issue, Jagdeo said, “I do believe that the President should not be so directly involved in routine matters of management of the industry and that is precisely why we have said that we want an independent technical commission to engage on most of these matters and that the President should simply lay down the policy, work it out internally.”

Jagdeo continued, “If he lays it all out, any person can meet with the foreigners who come because they reflect what the president is saying. But the problem is that this government is so lost in the sector that they do not even have clear positions on the issue. So I am not even sure if the investors meet with the President, he can give them the clarity that they crave in making their investment decisions. This is because there is such a big vacuum.”

Jagdeo said that the Head of the Department of Energy, Dr Mark Bynoe, keeps referring to hired consultants whenever he is faced with questions about policies. He said that Dr Bynoe still cannot speak to any policies that have been settled.

Jagdeo said, “We are years in advance; we should have had settled policies in this area and I suspect that that is not going to happen. Why blame the illness for the sloth? I do not think the President moved at a faster pace when he was not ill. I do not think it has anything to do with that; it is just a lack of clarity on the matter. That is what is bothering the government.”

Jagdeo predicted that if the APNU+AFC Government is allowed to continue on its current trajectory for at least another year, “all the opportunities for Guyanese will be gone because our government did not stand up now when these frameworks are being crafted. People cannot go and see the President now because he is ill, and there is no clarity. So who is looking out for the interest of Guyanese?”


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