Government should approach the oil and gas sector in Guyana in a manner that is completely devoid of partisan politics, so that sound policies and plans could be put in place for future generations to benefit from this industry and resource.
This is the view firmly expressed by Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who said Government needs to approach this issue in a manner that ensures active stakeholder participation and input.
“There are some best practices in this area, particularly in the oil and gas sector; and the several models we have looked at showed that the ones that yield the best results in managing oil and gas resources for the good of the country are the models that emphasize an apolitical approach,” he explained.
Jagdeo declared that not only should political parties be included in discussions on the future of the oil and gas industry, but members of civil society and interest groups should equally be involved.
The former President said having local groups and institutions involved in the decision-making process for this sector would be good for Guyana.
He said, “It would allow people — the whole of the country — to buy into this model. And it would not require us to change anything if or when the Government changes.”
The Opposition has already expressed its willingness to participate in discussions regarding the planning of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and the setting up of a body such as a Petroleum Commission, which would help to guide sound management of the impending oil and gas sector in Guyana.
Maintaining that institutions set up to manage the oil and gas sector must be free of politics, Jagdeo said he knows of examples where countries rich in oil resources and exporting millions of barrels of oil earn miniscule finances because they have treated the sector in a political fashion.
“If it is treated in an apolitical manner, then our country will make long-term progress. We will be able to really translate the barrels (exported) and revenue earned to real development for our people. But it has to be treated in that manner if we are to see some progress,” he maintained.