Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Thursday evening made an appeal for “national cohesion” to ensure development.
Trotman made the call when he delivered the featured address at the flag raising ceremony which was held on the lawns of State House in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
He also told the Berbicians gathered that the citizens of Guyana will become millionaires in the future because of oil. He highlighted that about 120 miles off the coast of Guyana in the Atlantic, “lies another resource, another way for us to be sustained.” According to Trotman, Guyana, as a nation, and Guyanese, individually, are estimated to become wealthy beyond imagination.
“We have discovered offshore of Guyana over a billion barrels of oil. With less than one million people and being entitled to 50% of that $1.4 plus billion barrels of oil, every Guyanese, you and I are already a millionaire,” he said.
The minister explained that while the sugar industry has carried Guyana on its back for 51 years, oil and natural gas will take the country for another five hundred years.
He noted that the discovery of oil was not an insignificant sum and, therefore, Guyana needs to prepare to reap the benefits from the discovery. “Fields have to be planted, crops have to be reaped, engines have to be built and repaired, houses and factories have to be erected,” he said.
He added that he is aware that Berbicians are uncertain about the future, however, he asked, that they bear patiently with the government, as they do what is necessary to ensure a better life for all of Guyana.
He further on called for national cohesion, while explaining that it is necessary for cohesion to be present in order to ensure the further development of the country.
“This is the time that we must take together. It is therefore critical that there is cohesion of cause, and cohesion of action and we can’t be pulling at every direction seeking to gain political one up man-ship, while the masses we say we represent are left in the past,” Trotman said.
A march from High Bridge in New Amsterdam to the State House was held before the programme commenced.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan spoke of the hardships Guyana’s forefathers endured while fighting for independence.
“In those days, things were pretty difficult, wages and salaries were low, jobs were very hard to get, health facilities were very poor, education was the preserved right of a few. You did not have too much freedom, your freedom and rights were limited, you had to get property to vote. Water situation was poor, there was hardly any electricity”, Armogan reminded the gathering.
However, the Region Chairman noted that while Guyana has come a far way from the past struggles, by improving the health, education, infrastructure, electricity, housing, transportation, water and agriculture sectors, there is still much more to be done.
He noted that the region’s economy has been declining over the past few years, however, he said, “There is talks of having an oil facility right here at Crab Island. We are hoping that we could have that in the future.” He added that this initiative will boost the region’s economy significantly, and will give Berbicians hope.
Armogan also made mention of the government’s plan for the sugar industry. He noted that the problem lies with the government not putting forth plans for the workers, who will be jobless once the government’s plans, which were recently presented to the National Assembly, are implemented. He sounded a call to the government to make investments in the region and to take care of the sugar workers who will suffer from the plans of closing down or privatizing the sugar factories.
The gathering enjoyed the many different performances of cultural dances, skits and drumming. At the end of the programme, the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted, as everyone present stood firm whilst the national anthem was played.