The Ministry of Natural Resources says it has organised a high-level caucus for Cabinet Ministers to engage global thinkers and experts on natural resource management as part of the Government of Guyana’s agenda to prepare for petroleum production in 2020, and beyond.
The event will be facilitated by Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs through its New Petroleum Producers Group.
The caucus is expected to feature “world renowned experts Sir Paul Collier, noted Professor of Economics at Oxford University, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Caribbean Statesman and Advisor, Mr. Eric Parrado, former Manager of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Chile, Amb. Patrick Duddy, Lecturer, Duke University, Dr. Valerie Marcel, Chatham House Fellow, Prof. Matthew Andrews, Harvard, Kennedy School of Government, Prof. Peter Harrington, Harvard, Kennedy School of Government, Mr. Patrick Heller, Advisor, Natural Resource Governance Institute, and Dr. Paloma Mohamed, University of Guyana.”
According to the Natural Resources Ministry in a statement, Government’s objective is to “move preparations to a deeper level of engagement on issues such as prioritising spending on infrastructure, agriculture and social programmes, inter-generational savings, geo-political considerations, legal and institutional strengthening, benefit sharing and engagement and involvement of the people of Guyana, to name a few.”
The caucus, which will be held on today (Wednesday), “is expected to lead to further similar engagements in a scheduled and programmatic way in the months ahead” said the Ministry.
The caucus comes on the heels of criticisms from stakeholders, experts and the political Opposition over the oil contract that the incumbent Administration signed with ExxonMobil in 2016 which they said is highly favoured towards the contractor and will see Guyana losing out billions in revenue from oil sales.
Moreover, it comes after the recent pronouncements by the US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry 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.
Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had long called for the establishment of a SWF in line with the Santiago Principles and a model similar to the principles on which the Norwegian model was developed.
“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” he posited in a recent press statement.