I am a professional Engineer and some of my undertakings were to design, build, prepare contract documents of processing plants that take raw material from the earth, and process to a consumable product.
I also built the first natural gas station in Trinidad with the help of the late Mr. Manning, a geologist and former Prime Minister. In mid-1970s, we designed a steel plant ISCOTT (Iron and Steel Company of Trinidad and Tobago) in Canada for Trinidad, due to the short-lived fleeting trickle oil boom.
In 1970, oil moved from $20/barrel to $60/barrel and by mid-1970 to $120/barrel, and by 1980, the price dropped, so the deliberate fleeting ”so-called boom” was over. Poverty crept back into the society that was left psychologically damaged. Migration, crime, capital flight increased and the country was left with no alternative but to import oil, etc.
Many believed that the oil companies greeted the politicians, their friends and families under the table, grabbed most of the profits for themselves, allowed a well calculated trickle of the oil money to create a so-called boom to convince the people that those who spoke about renegotiation of contracts were fools, but the truth surfaced with time.
As it turned out, the people with power made no attempt to renegotiate, because their consciences were tied under the table and the people now “ketching they a**”, the oil companies are smiling.
The Guyana contract is null and void because it was not made in good faith and does not meet a minimum international standard, hence, renegotiation should commence immediately. Check my letter in Kaieteur News of April 29/2019.
How will you determine cost, if work/activities are not itemised, not priced, estimated, quantified or qualified? It is disgraceful to talk about Venezuela, and an $18M signature bonus, by men holding high offices and exposed to the social media.
There is no doubt there will be a short-lived oil boom in Guyana, under any government, hence, significant impact on land use planning, physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, drainage etc), traffic chaos, housing, education, customs, airport/immigration/border security, environment, factories, availability of materials, human resources, psyche of the people, food; in general, all businesses will be busy.
There will be demand for all goods and services, the 4M’s, i.e., man, money, machine and materials. There will be more than 50,000 jobs created, as stated by the PPP.
Physical infrastructure: There will be a drastic increase in migration of people looking for work (skilled and unskilled, professionals, technicians), foreign companies, industries, agricultural demands etc. Housing must be provided – this will keep the sawmills, hardware stores, customs, airport and immigration, car dealers, housing and planning, etc. very busy. Roads and bridges must be provided, there is no doubt there will be traffic chaos. In the morning, it was more than three hours from Chaguanas to Port of Spain.
Health: Hospitals, more doctors, nurses, drugs management, helicopter to transport the sick/accident victims and all other goods and services
Education: more schools, teachers, technical training, etc.
Financial management: Government must have trained people, management infrastructure, auditors, tender boards – corruption will be everywhere.
Airport: more immigration officers, more custom officers, more employees, more passenger bridges, more baggage, carousels, flight control, airport expansion necessary now, or new airport, more planes, etc.
Customs: more staff, more storage, more containers, more ships docking, weight control on vehicles imported to protect the roads, border control – because people are going to come by small boats, etc.
Tourism/accommodation: Hotels and motels, industry management, ads, inspection standards to government and private tourist sites, safety approvals, etc.
A satellite city: This should be planned now in the forest on the South East side of Georgetown. I advised the previous government and this government that land use planning is very important around Georgetown, due to flooding, rising water level, traffic congestion etc.
The city of Georgetown is a quadrant location, bounded by the Demerara River and the Atlantic Ocean, hence, traffic is landlocked. Let us take the lighthouse as the centre of a large circle, then Georgetown is a quadrant. The government can do a silly thing and build a suspended circular road around the city to facilitate traffic.
Industrial zones: These must be identified. Both sides of the Demerara River must be zoned as industrial areas because of easy access by water transport; no more housing permits should be granted for those areas. It was not appropriate to build a divided highway on the East Bank of Demerara. What do you do with the traffic when it reaches the Georgetown quadrant? The new bridge location must facilitate industries, large vessels, and sedimentation tests must be done not to affect cargo vessels
Inflation: Due to the shortage of skills, labour, professionals – that is, demand and supply, etc. – the cost for goods and services will be inflated drastically in all sectors.
Crime: Crime and corruption will be at all levels in a boom and worse off when the boom is over. People become need-driven to gratify the higher level of spending habits acquired during the boom and will have a down psyche.
Capital Flight: The people lose confidence in the government; they know that the oil deal is poor and the government is not supporting renegotiation, hence, they are keeping money overseas.
Guyana is already in trouble, where neither of the large parties is ready to negotiate the poor oil deal which so many scholars and organisations condemned publicly (any school boy can see the poor deal). The people believe that the unwillingness to renegotiate is because their consciences are tied below the table. This is the seed for capital flight.
The government needs an experienced team to plan, map, quantify and qualify the supply and demand of goods and services due to the fleeting trickle oil boom.
Joe Persaud (Canada)
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