Sep 21, 2022 News
– we can never realise true potential of oil wealth if we don’t work together – GCCI President
By Kiana Wilburg
Kaieteur News – President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker believes it is high time that politicians within the Opposition and Government camps grow-up, and set their differences aside for the greater good of the people.
Unlocking the true potential of the oil wealth he posited, cannot be realised if both sides are at proverbial loggerheads.
The shrewd businessman and leader for one of the largest business advocacy groups in Guyana offered the foregoing advice during a recent appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Programme, Guyana’s Oil and You.
Bluntly speaking on the need for both sides to work in harmony, Tucker was keen to remind that every policy leader has a role to play in setting the stage for the future generation to live comfortably. He said the current population size which totals approximately 700,000 persons is akin to a family of 10 persons who are in charge of managing massive amounts of wealth. His belief is that this household can no longer continue to be divided or persons will be disenfranchised.
“We see politicians divided for so long but we could never realise our true potential as a country if we don’t work together; it has to be together and you’ve got to put your petty differences aside for the good of everyone. You’ve got to come together and create a national plan. It’s not when you come into power ‘oh we’re gonna change this; we’re gonna paint the buildings in this colour’ and then when you come out, another party is going to be painting it back to the original colour,” the GCCI President expressed.
Further to this, he said it is important that there is a unified front on the fundamental issues that hinder the improvement of the nation’s standard of living. He said power generation is a matter all and sundry have agreed must be fixed if the country is to transform for the better. Tucker said there is also an agreement that the country needs good medical care, and a proper mass transit system.
“These are matters we have to be able to find a common ground on and ensure that we keep each other in check,” the GCCI President said.
It is on the foregoing premise he contended that a government and opposition working arm in arm, paves the way for every citizen to feel the benefits of the booming oil industry.
Earlier this month, Trinidadian Energy Strategist and Local Content Expert, Anthony Paul offered similar advice as he stated that the government and the political opposition must aspire to put aside their differences and work together as much as possible. He too agreed that this level of collaboration is necessary if Guyana is to truly maximise value from the oil and gas sector while ensuring proper oversight.
Paul said oil companies love nothing more than to see politicians more concerned with fighting amongst themselves as opposed to working as one to defend its people.
Given the magnitude of Guyana’s oil resources, Paul said he would advise Guyana’s young politicians in particular, to make use of parliamentary oversight committees as much as possible to demand more information from ministers about their policies and measures of accountability that would be in place for the spending of the oil revenues.
He had said too that in many of the countries, which he has worked in, there are cases where politicians working on either side of the divide were able to join forces and protect the interests of their country and save millions of dollars in the process too.
In the case of Ghana, Paul said it was the robust oversight of the government as well as the opposition that prevented the country from being saddled with an overdesigned and inflated field development plan. The cost saving from this level of oversight, he said, saved the country almost US$1B in costs.
Taking these lessons into consideration, Paul said his advice therefore, to Guyanese politicians would be this: “Yes, you have your party loyalty but there’s one Guyana; think about where you agree and work for that. There’s nothing foreign companies love better than to see us fight amongst ourselves…”
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