Business minister calls on Guyanese to ignore doom and gloom over oil and gas sector

Dominic Gaskin

GEORGETOWN, GuyanaMinister of Business Dominic Gaskin is urging Guyanese to ignore the doom and gloom being peddled by some about the oil and gas sector.

He wants them to focus on the benefits the evolving industry will bring the country.

Gaskin accused some people of being “bent on killing the spirit and hopes of the people of this country when it comes to oil and gas”.

“There is a lot of doom and gloom about what Guyana isn’t getting, but the truth is, what Guyana is getting is what we should be the focused on,” Gaskin, who also has the responsibility for Tourism, said on 95.1FM Radio Lethem.

“We have a rough diamond that needs polishing, and we have to polish this rough diamond because it is ours, and no one is going to do it for us. Everyone else who is interested in our rough diamond or our rough resources, they just want to take it and sell, and if we want to do better, then we have to do it ourselves. This requires a better understanding than what currently exists, of developing certain industries and for instance, the benefits that the oil and gas sector can bring to Guyana,” Minister Gaskin emphasized.

He added that Guyana’s oil and gas wealth is so vast that it can help the country to transform those other industries that need a boost or are struggling to get established.

“Agriculture is one of the key areas; we have always been an agricultural economy and there’s no reason why we should stop. In fact, there is every reason we should do it as best as we can; we have the fertile land, fresh water, a workforce that understands how to grow food and how to plant and reap, we understand agriculture.  In all of the regions in Guyana agriculture is a major source of income, and oil and gas can deliver that,” Gaskin said.

According to the Business Minister, the government’s revenue will increase considerably once the oil starts to flow. He also underscored that while the development of the oil and gas sector will have a huge impact on the country, the administration is not “just sitting back and waiting for things to happen.”

“We cannot ignore that impact and we must prepare ourselves for it. It will transform our economy and we, the people of Guyana, who own the oil along with all the other natural resources, need to find a way to benefit from those developments; and we can only benefit from it if we understand the opportunities that will be created and if we understand that it is something big and something good and that there is scope for us to benefit.”

Minister Gaskin said the ExxonMobil Contract will see Guyana receiving a fair amount of revenue, and while as a country “we can get more, no deal is perfect”. However, he noted that the revenues the country will receive, in terms of the size of the population, per capita, would be among the highest in the world.

“[So] we need to stop squabbling over how much more we could have gotten and start planning for what we will do with those resources,” he insisted.