– U.S. Ambassador urges Guyanese to take advantage
IN spite of all the angst and uncertainty, Guyana’s future looks brighter now than ever before, U.S. Ambassador Perry Holloway said, stating that with the coming of oil, the country will be well positioned to meet the social and economic needs of its people.
Holloway made the comments at the Marriott Hotel on Wednesday evening to mark the U.S. 242nd Independence Anniversary. Ambassador Holloway, in keeping with his theme “Guyana – Past, Present and Future,” said Guyanese must position themselves to effectively capitalise on the oil-and-gas industry, stating that while the David Granger administration has committed to doing its part, they too must play their part.
“This discovery of oil offshore is a really big, big, big deal and everyone needs to take it seriously and get smarter on the issue, because while the government of Guyana is currently doing many of the things that need to be done, much more will need to be done. I know President Granger is committed to getting this right, but he cannot do it without the help of all Guyanese,” the U.S. Ambassador told his guests – a mixture of government officials, diplomats, private sector representatives, educators, and youth ambassadors.
Guyana, he pointed out, ranks among the top 25 countries of the world in terms of confirmed reserves ahead of countries such as the United Kingdom, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“With a couple of more discoveries, Guyana will pass Norway. This is serious business. When Liza 1 begins producing in early 2020, it will produce 120,000 barrels a day. That is more than all 100 oil wells in Trinidad produce in a day…One well in Guyana will produce more oil in one day than 100 wells in Trinidad and Tobago,” Ambassador Holloway further posited, while estimating that the country could very well produce 500,000 barrels a day as its oil industry develops.
Using revenues from its oil-and-gas industry, the country, he noted will be better positioned to fund its developmental projects and programmes for the betterment of its people. Like in any democracy, the ambassador said elected officials must be held accountable, as well as domestic and international companies operating here. However, he urged that positions taken by the people must be on the basis of facts.
“The contract negotiated by the previous government was about the best that could be expected based on historic exploration results in Guyana, and world oil markets at the time. The changes made by the current government to the contract were all to the benefit of Guyana and were done when confirmed reserves were barely a million. There are people from ExxonMobil and Hess here today, and I think they would confirm that exploration to date has been so much more successful than anyone could have predicted,” he explained. “
In moving forward, Ambassador Holloway said the country’s real challenge would not be how to acquire additional revenues, but rather how to effectively and sustainably utilise the resources coming from the industry. “Certainly, most would agree that money invested in infrastructure, education, health, security, agriculture and a rainy day fund for the future all make sense, but in the end it is not me that determines what needs to be done. It is the people of Guyana and their elected government officials,” the U.S. ambassador posited.
President David Granger, while offering congratulatory remarks to the President, Government and People of the United States of America on their 242nd Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, recalled that Guyana and the U.S. established diplomatic ties on August 15, 1966.
He noted that since then, Guyana has benefited from the US’ assistance in the areas of economic development, education, entrepreneurship, justice improvement, defence and security, such as the Caribbean Basin Security initiative.
“We look forward to deepening and widening this cooperation under the multi-area strategy to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean,” the President said.
He also took note of U.S. leadership in the area of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Assistance, noting that Guyana’s Civil Defence Commission has benefited significantly, especially from the provision of equipment and machinery, materials and training.
USAID has been a friend in deed, he added, while stating that in light of the 2017 storms and the threats of more natural disasters, Guyana stands ready to further collaborate with the U.S. to mitigate the harmful effects of global warming and provide relief to victims of hurricanes and natural disasters. In August 2018, the first-ever, American Chamber of Commerce will be launched in Guyana as Guyana and the U.S. further strengthen ties.
Ambassador Holloway’s wife, Rosaura; Guyana’s First Lady, Sandra Granger; Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and his wife, Sita Nagamootoo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, were among the officials present.