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Guyanese, in the diaspora and home, will on Saturday, August 13, hold a symposium on Oil in Guyana, in what organisers say is aimed to “avoid the resource curse.”
Presenters are Dr. Vincent Adams, Dr. Tarron Khemraj, Dr. Jeanette Bulkan, and Mr. Christopher Ram. They are expected to cover topics that include: The need for full coverage insurance for an oil spill; Impact of oil drilling on Guyana’s environment and coastal livelihoods; Money that will be available in the Natural Resource Fund; The tax lawsuit against the oil companies; and Cost of living in an oil economy.
The exploitation and management of Guyana’s oil continue to evoke spirited national conversations. There remains no national consensus on how Guyana will proceed as a united front. In the meantime there continues to be announcements of oil finds and the auctioning of oil blocks by government.
The party in Government (i.e., the People’s Progressive Party/Civic) when it was Opposition had condemned the oil contracts and promised to renegotiate them should they return to government. Two years into office this has not yet happened.
The Party had also condemned the one (1) per cent royalty from oil revenue saying it should be higher. The initial royalty percentage was agreed to by the PPP/C Donald Ramotar government. The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government has renegotiated that royalty to two (2) per cent, representing a 100 per cent increase on the previous per cent. Two years into the PPP/C administration the two (2) per cent remains.
Mindful of public outcries, trade unionist Lincoln Lewis has called for the contracts to be re-laid in the National Assembly where discussions would take place, including from desired stakeholders outside of the Assembly who should be allowed to make presentations, that would allow for Guyanese to arrive at a consensus agreement on the way forward. According to Lewis, “this would create the opportunity for involvement of all stakeholders consistent with ‘inclusionary democracy,’ as required by Article 13 in the Constitution of Guyana to address existing frictions and discontents.”
In 2015 oil and gas were discovered in Guyana in commercial quantities. In 2020 Guyana started production of its first barrel. Guyana is presently ranked among the world’s fastest growing economies. The Bank of Guyana projected this year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth from oil revenue will be 49.6 per cent. Others have projected this revenue to climb as high as 60 per cent.
Persons can participate in the symposium via zoom or at the venue. Refer to the flyer below for further information.