…supports US Ambassador’s remarks, describes Govt’s response at ‘petulant ramblings’
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has weighed in on the exchange between the Unites States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, and Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, on the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) after receiving queries from members of the local media corps.
“For months, I, like other Guyanese, have witnessed the Coalition Government fail on its promise to deliver on the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. The current Administration has neglected to work on a solid and apolitical management architecture for our emerging oil and gas sector” Jagdeo posited.
The Ministry of Finance had taken umbrage to the recent opinion editorial written by Ambassador Holloway calling for priority and more so public consultations to be given in the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to manage the revenues expected from Guyana’s oil production.
While Government said it values the comments from bilateral and multilateral partners on the draft content of the SWF, and welcomes further engagement and support, it noted, they would “recommend that our partners exercise restraint when pronouncing on Guyana’s national priorities, and to refrain from making premature statements on its petroleum resource management, given the existing challenges of managing expectations and avoiding the Dutch Disease,” referring to the Ambassador’s comments.
According to Jagdeo however, “the Government’s response to the Ambassador can only be described as ‘petulant’ ramblings. Minister Jordan, like his colleagues, continues to be impervious to suggestions, a disposition that does not bode well for our nation…I feel that given the state of affairs, the response by Minister Jordan is reflective of how ‘thin-skinned’ the Coalition Government is and exposes its reluctance to consider any view that is not its own.”
Jagdeo said the views expressed by the Ambassador, represent a mild urging of the coalition Government to pay attention to an important issue and take substantive action to establish a SWF.
“The Ambassador has repeated what I and other Guyanese have already said – the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund is quintessential to the future prosperity of our nation.”
As it pertains to the establishment of the SWF, the Opposition Leader noted that on multiple occasions he “urged that Government take cognizance of the Santiago Principles and a model similar to the principles on which the Norwegian model was developed. The establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund is only one element of a management framework for the sector.
“I have said before that there should be no ministerial involvement in the Petroleum Commission; that the remaining oil blocks should be subject to a competitive auction or kept for future generations; and that we should complete the work on the Local Content framework. There have been no substantive moves in any of these directions. As I have said before there is no clear management framework for the oil and gas sector.”