Exploiting Guyana’s newfound oil resource must be balanced against environmental responsibilities and climate change. Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, said that this is part of the reality that has to be confronted in the development of an oil and gas sector.
Speaking at the launch of the Guyana Oil and Gas Association last evening, Greenidge said that as a signatory to several initiatives to protect the environment and guard against climate change, Guyana must not become dependent on the oil sector.
He said revenues from the oil industry should be used to diversify the economy particularly along the lines of the green economy. “I believe that the greatest promise lies in ensuring that the resources are used for enabling us to diversify our economy, diversify the human resource skills and capacities that we have so this remains to us a primary target in developing the resource to make sure that exploitation of the resource goes hand in hand with the enhancement of the quality of the human resources,” Greenidge explained.
The transformative possibilities for Guyana’s economy are vast when oil begins generating revenues. However, it will not be immediate. Minister Greenidge added that in developing the oil and gas sector, the government must ensure that it does not fall into the “resource curse” like neighbouring Venezuela.
“It is our intention to make sure that resources are used in a manner that will enable us to diversify across a significant spectrum of activities from industrial activities, oil related activities as well as services, and this I think is the defence we have against the so called resource curse,” Greenidge pointed out.
To reduce the likelihood of dependency on this new sector, the Vice President said that the government is committed to ensuring that oil and gas resources are used to create greater prosperity and opportunities “for future generations particularly through the sustainable investment of resources.”
The Minister added that careful attention to issues of governance, transparency and participation by national and foreign elements in the economy will also be an area of emphasis in the development of the oil and gas sector. (GINA)
(Photos by Carl Croker)