This week we asked the man and woman in the streets of Berbice what they thought of Guyana’s huge oil discovery. Their answers follow.
Franklin North – `My concern is who would benefit from the oil extraction because Guyana does not have the money to invest and the Americans who have the money would push and get the benefits. It would be just like our gold, timber, bauxite. The person that produces the raw materials don’t get the benefits but the ones that have the finished products gets the benefits. We don’t have a refinery here and to build it is a lot of money and that employs a lot of people … I am hoping that the young generation would be able to benefit from it.’
Pollyann Galloway – `I think the oil find is good for the country because a lot of jobs would be created and we should see a boom in the economy. A lot of young people are on the street and getting themselves involved in violence. I do, however, think that they should bring in experts and have them train local persons so that they can be employed. Also, I think the money that would be coming into the country should be used to improve infrastructure in the small communities.’
Winston Lewis – `It is a good thing for Guyana because I think it would help to take us out of poverty. I think that the Government needs to manage the funds very properly so that it is not stolen. I think we have people here who can work in the field but the government should bring in experienced persons who know the field to give some training to our local Guyanese. The money they would be getting from the oil should be used to help families who are living in poverty by building houses for them, that should be a priority. They should also ensure that the communities have street lights and security’.
Mohammed Ally- `Finding oil does not always progress a country. An oil find in itself has its consequences if it is not properly managed. Guyana is a poor country and knows nothing about oil.
Guyana needs to get foreign people who are knowledgeable in this field. The Government of Guyana, I believe is aware of this and they don’t have the resources to manage such an industry at this point in time. Oil and gas exports in any country is an asset. If a country’s assets are not properly managed by people who understand the intricacies of gas and oil it does not guarantee a boom for the country that is my concern as a Guyanese. I am happy about the oil find. We have two neighbouring countries Trinidad and Venezuela, if oil is tremendous as people seem to think, look at the state of Venezuela today, is it poor management of oil? Oil should be complemented by other sectors of the country and we should not be dependent on oil. Guyana was the bread basket of the Caribbean, but it was bad management that led us to this state. We have all contributed to the decline of the resources in this country because of poor management. Oil is now a perception that can bring back Guyana to its glory days. I caution the government the oil should be complementing the other producing sectors that is my main concern’.
Waveney August – `It would help us a lot because a lot of people are already getting jobs. I know of people who didn’t have jobs and are now working with companies in the oil and gas sector.
The money that Guyana would be getting from the oil should be spent in the education sector and infrastructure. I see the oil discovery as something good for the country.’
Anetta Samuels – `I do not know a lot about the oil find in the country but I have heard about it through the news. I think it is a good thing for a country and I am excited because it could help everyone live a better life. My only concern is that citizens would have a fair deal and be able enjoy the benefits form the oil production because we all own this country.’
S.Pearson – `The oil discovery, I see it as a good for the country. It would generate revenue that can be used to develop citizens’ lives. I think the government should look to invest it into areas where it would have a ripple effect. They should use it to build the education system making classrooms and laboratories in schools student-friendly. Look to erect factories that would employ people, in this way I see it as an investment for the people. I am not up to date with the discovery of the oil and what is happening but I think the Ministry should engage in campaigns to tell citizens what is unfolding and the opportunities that are available in the sector’.
Lakhram Singh – `Oil resources in our country is most welcome in terms of GDP. The revenues of oil can be beneficial to the livelihoods of each and every citizen. The money I am suggesting can go towards maintenance of schools, and all recreational facilities across this country. Building of roads in areas where citizens live and have been isolated by the past administration. Monies should go towards infrastructural developments across this country. Rehabilitation of all hospitals, health centres and dispensaries and make available all drugs. Recapping of our freeways and highways in different phases of works to be undertaken by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. Monies must be spent on quality education for each and every student, hot meals for students from nursery, primary, secondary and university. Proper laboratory facilities for students to do experiments. Upgrades to all Police precincts across the country, make proper barracks for policemen and policewomen. Purchasing of more high tech fire tenders and fire- fighting equipment. Purchasing of hovercraft to fight drugs and arms smuggling into our country and fixing all waterfront security buildings. Nurses and all public servants must receive decent wages for a better living standard. There should be nothing like minimum wages with the money generated from oil. Private sectors must come up with job creation mechanisms to make industries that will create employment for workers. With the byproducts of crude oil revenues, the growth of our country will be like a mini Singapore and the spinoffs must be monitored with transparency. Bridging of all rivers surrounding our neighbours and advance security systems to fight terrorism. The revenues generated from oil must be used in phases of development works to be done over time spanning from one to ten years. Our beaches and all conservations areas must be properly cared for’.
Geetanjali Khan – `It is good for the country, I don’t know a lot about the discovery. I just hope that we can all enjoy the benefits. I hope the revenues are accounted for properly and there is transparency in the process. I also hope that the companies would look to employ locals and not import too much foreigners to work. The government should use the money to invest in the ICT sector, that is where the world is heading and we need to be up to date.’