Dec 04, 2016 News
– US Deputy Chief of Mission
With Guyana preparing to usher in its age of oil, the State is at a crossroads and the Guyanese people
– who are also taxpayers and consumers – will have many choices to make. This means that everyone needs to make a conscious decision to stay and invest in Guyana today.
This was the assertion of Deputy Chief of Mission, at the United States Embassy in Guyana, Mr. Terry Steers-Gonzalez, during his remarks to participants at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI)’s 127th Annual Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown, last Thursday.
“We commend and support your decision to invest your talents and voices in Guyana and hope that you will invite more Guyanese at all levels to do the same.” Mr. Steers-Gonzalez said.
He pointed out that Guyana is ‘at the cusp of a transformation’ with recent estimates confirming that offshore oil deposits may be as large as 1.4 billion recoverable barrels.
“Estimates continue to change, each time growing larger, and as these numbers grow so too the expectations of the Guyanese people. The stakes are high, but, in my short time here, I have been encouraged by the Government of Guyana’s high level of political will and the Guyanese people’s willingness to engage in public discourse and action.”
The US representative said that already, Guyanese have shown a keen understanding of the need for preparation and education as the embryonic stage of the industry continues to fuse.
“I think we all can agree that legislation and regulations that protect Guyana’s interests and promote transparent resource management at all levels are key components to success. The list of important legislation for the industry is vast and spans across the spectrum, from a Petroleum Act to regulations for a sovereign wealth fund, licences and fees for the new industry, to occupational, health and safety standards.”
Mr. Steers-Gonzalez added that not just the government, but the people of Guyana have an incredible opportunity to define the country’s future which he said, starts with a carefully calculated strategic plan of action – formed from the collaboration of all stakeholders – that targets job creation, investment, and long-term revenue management.
“Guyana’s oil find will generate significant levels of new revenue. It will be critical to think strategically now about how to best invest those revenues in ways that develop diverse industries; physical infrastructure, renewable and energy security; and quality education and health services.”
These are the areas, he said, that will create significant job numbers, while adding that local content in the offshore operation will not be enough, since a broader vision is how Guyana will avoid “Dutch Disease,” and ensure that petroleum is a strategic industry, not its only industry.
“This great challenge is one for all the citizens of Guyana. I hope that, as business leaders, you will continue to step up to meet the challenge, and bring more people to the table for a dialogue that allows everyone to determine the future of your country.”
Fleeting Revenues and long-term management
Mr. Steers-Gonzalez said that revenues can be fleeting – whether coming in or going out, hence the importance of long-term revenue management.
A sovereign wealth fund, he said, will provide Guyana with the opportunity to invest in its long-term future, and prudent management of revenues will ensure that investment by the government in its people does not simply last for as long as oil is pumped out of the ground, but beyond that.
Such a sovereign wealth fund should be transparent, independent, inviolable, and non-partisan, he emphasised.
The Diplomat said that the US and Guyana are currently celebrating 50 years of a strong bilateral relationship and together, both nations have embarked on projects that empower youth and women; close the gap in health disparities, and promote regional security.
The two nations have also built lasting and important bonds through commerce and trade that underscore a high level of trust by their citizens in both economies.
“This trust in our bilateral cooperation is why the United States can proudly claim to be one of Guyana’s most significant trade partners. By the end of this past September, for example, the United States had already imported US$348 million worth of Guyanese products, that’s GY$71.3 billion generated for Guyanese producers, distributors, and countless service providers involved in a variety of industries ranging from machinery to foodstuffs to pharmaceuticals.”
Mr. Steers-Gonzalez said that the Guyana/USA relationship is only growing stronger, thanks to the local Private Sector.
“The private sector, along with Guyana’s government and civil society, will play an integral role and share responsibility for shaping the future of the country. As Guyana continues to develop new industries and shape the regulatory structure and processes that will govern them, your role as citizens, as well as business leaders, will only grow in scope and importance.”
Guyana is not alone
“Certainly, Guyana is not and will not be alone in the road ahead. The United States, along with other partners, has and will continue to provide counsel and assistance in support of Guyana’s efforts to build industries – not just petroleum – that are transparent, responsive, and accountable to all. But make no mistake, it falls to all of you to advance a vision and implement a plan. There is no amount of assistance that anyone can provide Guyana that can rival political will, an informed private sector, and collaborative citizens.”
Mr. Steers-Gonzalez urged the Private Sector to tackle the challenges that make it difficult to do business in Guyana, so that future investors can feel welcome and empowered to build partnerships and joint ventures with Guyanese businesses.
“Invest in clean forms of energy now and push for improvement to the electricity grid to bring down costs that prevent businesses from thriving and affect the productivity of everyday people. And, above all, think about Guyana’s important role in the region and how new industries, economic prosperity, and social development can only strengthen this role. Help Guyana remain committed to being a leader in the region and within the Caribbean Community in encouraging human rights, public security, and renewable energy.”
“Guyana is the Land of Many Waters – a land rich with natural resources and warm and intelligent people, and tremendous potential. Let’s work together to realize this potential.”
VP Jagdeo words exposing him
Feb 07, 2023SportsMax – A maiden Test double hundred from Tagenarine Chanderpaul and a 12th Test century from captain Kraigg Brathwaite have put the West Indies in an excellent position after day three of...
Feb 07, 2023
Feb 07, 2023
Feb 07, 2023
Feb 07, 2023
Feb 07, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]