Apr 27, 2017 News
President David Granger who is currently on a visit to the United Kingdom has acknowledged that the country has series deficiencies in the area of infrastructural development.
He noted that Government is focused on comprehensive development plans that include deep water harbours, aerodromes and road and bridge networks that link the coastland to the hinterland.
Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge added, that the infrastructure needed for the sustained development of the productive sectors is inadequate and stated that this is a major priority area for the administration.
He said, too, that the country is working with its neighbours and with international partners to look at the development of a deep water port that allows Guyana and other countries in South America to ship their goods to markets in North America and Europe.
Mr. Gil Holzman Chief Executive Officer of ECO Atlantic Oil and Gas, encouraged other investors to take a look at Guyana.
He said that economic boom that Guyana is about to witness as a result of oil production, will have a significant effect on several sectors such as real estate, hotels, tourism, airlines, shipping, education and healthcare and will create exciting opportunities.
“You will have 20,000 expatriates flying into the country and they will need hotel rooms. The big companies that are going to build the infrastructure will need areas next to the port. You will need better roads from the airport,” he said.
Mr. Holzman said that the government is taking impressive measures in terms of ensuring that benefits of the oil and gas industry redound to the citizens and contribute to national development. He added that while there is a need to develop capacity to manage the sector in Government Ministries and agencies, he said that his interactions with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission have been heartening.
“These are all very savvy people; they are very responsible. They know that the big opportunity of the oil discovery, which is transformational for the country, should be dealt with very, very carefully.
“ I know that your administration, Mr. President, is speaking with everyone there is in the UN, in the United States, here in the United Kingdom, in Norway [and elsewhere] in order to learn from other people’s mistakes, in order to take the right measures going forward, taking the oil opportunity and making it for the greater good of your people and your country, and I think you’re taking very impressive measures.”
He also informed the Head of State that his company, which is conducting exploration work in the Stabroek Block, respects the country’s ‘green’ thrust.
A Magical Place
Mr. Andy Thorne, Group Chairman of the Kestrel Group, which is involved in the shipping industry in Guyana, described Guyana as “the most amazing, magical place” where it is safe and easy to conduct business.
“Please go to Guyana; it is an amazing country, listen to the people. The opportunities there are amazing but do the right thing; give back to the local people. Do this for them as well as yourselves. Make money but make it the right way. Give a helping hand when you can. People do not want a handout they want a hand up. So please do the right thing,” he urged potential investors.
Mr. Thorne also spoke of a project that will be implemented in Guyana under the auspices of the Prince’s Trust International. He explained that it targets young people who are unemployed; offering them training in various fields such as tourism, hospitality, port operations, infrastructure and transportation among others and finding them fulltime employment at the end of the programme.
He noted that when oil comes on stream there will be an immediate boom in jobs and these individuals will be trained and ready.
“It is so important and so valuable that we do this. In Barbados when we started it, I was a little sceptical, but 41 young people went on to the course and 36 ended up in fulltime employment,” he said.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Greg Quinn said that Guyana is moving in the right direction, particularly as it relates to the ease of doing business and the reduction of corruption. “I think we went up 16 points on the ease of doing business between 2016 and 2017 and that was from 140 to 124. The corruption perception index went from 29 to 34… We believe that this is an Administration and a Government, which we can and want to work with and which has significant potential going forward,” he said.
President Granger also spoke, along with Baroness Anelay, Minister for the Commonwealth and the UN, whom he had met with earlier in the day at the Caribbean Council’s House of Lords Annual Reception.
He also met with Member of Parliament and Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson. Details of that engagement will be provided in a subsequent report.
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