For Guyana to truly benefit from its oil revenue, several changes should have been made over the last four years. Unfortunately, Guyana’s leaders have not behaved with a sense of urgency. Instead, they have been passive, reliant on trickle-down economics, and caught up with fighting over the wealth to come says Petroleum Consultant, Dr. Jan Mangal.
In fact, the former Presidential Advisor recently said that the bickering over the oil money is already a sign of the resource curse, which refers to a case of countries well endowed with resources but ending up worse than those which have less.
The Consultant delivered this very message during his contribution at an Inter-American Dialogue that was held some three weeks ago.
There, Dr. Mangal posited that it is likely that the election results will spur even more fighting, and the international community will have less leverage to rein in the bickering leaders, who now think they are oil rich and can ignore Washington, London and Toronto. The Consultant also expressed disappointment with the fact that the Nation’s politicians have created false expectations as part of their electioneering, instead of creating and implementing a new, realistic vision for Guyana.
The former Presidential Advisor said, “Guyana is an opportunity for the oil industry to prove to the world that it does not have to be exploitative and predatory when operating in weak or fragile countries. Further, the size of the initial spike in growth due to oil revenue is not a useful indicator of whether Guyana will evolve into a successful country (a Singapore) or into a disappointment (an Equatorial Guinea).”
Dr. Mangal posited that the important question and challenge facing Guyana is how to translate a spike in revenue into sustainable and equitable growth, the kind of growth that transforms the lives of the majority of the people, especially the poor while disabling ills such as racial competition/conflict, high levels of interpersonal violence, rampant corruption, as well as ad-hoc and chaotic decision making.