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– Prime Minister
DPI – Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, has affirmed the Government’s commitment to supporting the National Oil Spill Committee (NOSC) to build and strengthen Guyana’s mechanisms for spill management.
Prime Minister Phillips made this statement during the virtual orientation session of the National Oil Spill Committee, aimed at informing stakeholders of their roles to ensure effective oil spill management. The exercise also saw the formal launch of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and gave the Committee credence to carry out its mandate.
The Committee’s primary responsibility is to recommend changes to, and implement and maintain the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. Delivering the opening remarks, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of the National Oil Spill Committee, noting that the best protection against disasters is preparation and mitigation.
“It cannot be ignored that this industry also presents new threats and risks for our nation, which need to be effectively managed to ensure that our resources and ecosystems remain safe. Oil spills, if not addressed adequately can devastate marine environments and organisms, and result in billions of dollars in clean-up, and short- and long-term recovery costs.”
The Prime Minister said the committee has an immense task to lessen the adverse impacts of an oil spill.
PM Phillips urged the body to continue building capacity through partnerships to manage oil spills. The Government is committed to providing these resources and equipment to minimise environmental damage.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Oil Spill Committee, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said the Civil Defence Commission is engaged in discussions with the US State Department and Coast Guard to assist with capacity building.
“Some of the capacity building requirements are new and very technical and would require specialised and appropriate training and equipment that is not readily available in country,” he said.
Director Craig said Guyana would seek support from the International Maritime Organization and the Regional Maritime Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre.
The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan outlines the agency roles and responsibilities for monitoring, preventing, and, when necessary, responding to both onshore and offshore spills. The final draft of the Plan was presented to the Government on October 2 last, following nationwide consultations. The Plan is to be treated as an evolving document, with mandatory reviews and updates every three years. Guyana’s emergence as an oil producing nation necessitated the establishment of the Committee and the Contingency Plan.