By Kiana Wilburg

Wth the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo ending today at the Marriott Hotel in Kingstown, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said there were some notable developments that must be celebrated. Chief among them was the fruitful discussions had with large investment funds about the potential impact of Venezuela’s aggression on the business environment.

Dr. Jagdeo, during a press conference at Freedom House, said these concerns were made known to him during meetings held on the sidelines of the conference. The official said he is confident that after learning the facts over the last four days, the managers of these multi-million dollar investment funds are more informed about the stability of Guyana’s business environment.

The Vice President provided this insight as he addressed comments Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton made earlier in the day. Norton said the conference was all about pageantry and grandstanding. “But he would not know better about what conferences of these sorts mean to a country,” said Dr. Jagdeo.

He explained that the conference is privately organized and that it grows from strength to strength, with a large number of people paying a lot of money annually to participate. “They come here because the information shared at these events is very important to their business planning processes. They also get to learn about the many opportunities available for them to invest in,” said the Vice President.

At this year’s conference, Jagdeo said there was an impressive array of diverse interests. He said there were several large investment funds that were in research mode. He said one of their main concerns was the issue of Venezuela’s aggression and its impact on the business climate.

“Most of them are now leaving here convinced that ExxonMobil is pressing ahead with its investment programmes, that it is expanding its footprint here…,” he said, adding, “I was extremely pleased because when these funds read some of the international reports, they get a different impression because some of the reports start off by saying, ‘oh, Venezuela has resurrected a longstanding claim for two-thirds of Guyana.”

The vice president said these reports often miss the historical context of the matter, particularly the fact that the matter of claims over the Essequibo region was settled since 1899. He said that to date, Venezuela has been unable to prove that the 1899 Arbitral Award is flawed or illegal. Hence, it has been avoiding the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The vice president also noted that he and President, Dr. Irfaan Ali conducted several interviews with international media outlets on the subject. Even if the full substance of those interviews is not carried, Jagdeo said these leading agencies are now walking away with a more nuanced understanding of the matter.

“So this energy conference is not just about the speeches,” said the chief policymaker for the oil sector. He said the conference offers critical opportunities for the Guyana Government to carefully outline its positions to international players while also welcoming key experts to share their perspectives. “Norton would never understand this because he has never been in the big league…all he will continue to do is be a griper,” the vice president said.

The Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo was held from February 19 to 22 under the theme, “Fueling transformation and modernization.” It saw participation from close to 800 delegates from 21 countries.


  1. Norton says “But he would not know better about what conferences of these sorts mean to a country,”
    Perhaps he is referring to heads of the countries in mudda africa, where his forbears were captured in the tribal wars and sold as slaves to the Whites.
    These victorious captors are always begging for aid from the whites while accusing them of racism.


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