President David Granger on Wednesday said a planned Ministry of Energy may not be possible before 2020, given the large amount of work that will have to be done to get it up and running.
“…It probably would not be before 2020 that a full blown ministry could be established. Even if we wanted to do it, I think it would be a rush job, it would be hasty to attempt to do it,” he told reporters at State House shortly after swearing in the new Chairperson of the Police Complaints Authority.
Two weeks ago at a press conference, the president announced that the creation of a Ministry of Energy is on the cards. According to what he said then, the recently established Department of Energy (DoE) will prepare the infrastructure for a transition to a fully fledged ministry, which will be well-equipped and capable of effectively and efficiently regulating and monitoring the sector.
Granger on Wednesday was responding to queries about the timeline for the establishment of the ministry and the most suitable person to head it.
He made it clear that at present the government has no intention of creating another ministry. “The present configuration of the Cabinet is determined by the Cummingsburg Accord and we have not increased the number of ministries and I think at this stage after three years we wouldn’t want to add a new ministry, particularly as the Department of Energy is now being established in terms of its organisation and administration legislation,” he said.
The president told reporters that work to establish the ministry, including the assembling of an international team is currently ongoing. “I think a two year period is reasonable to have an efficient and effective ministry,” he had said at the August 31st press conference.
“The Department of Energy itself, I would say, is just an interim measure. In due course, we hope to have a ministry responsible for the petrol industry that is responsible for petroleum. It [petroleum] is too large,” Granger further said.
“We are now setting up, we are now acquiring premises, we are now recruiting personnel, reviewing legislation…so, a lot of work has to be done…in due course it will be a Ministry of Energy or Petroleum,” he added.
The President has hand-picked Dr Mark Bynoe to head the Department of Energy and said that while he does not have experience in the oil and gas sector, he has the intelligence and ability to find the expert help needed. Bynoe’s appointment took effect from August 1st, 2018, the same day the DoE became operational but his lack of experience in the oil and gas sector has raised questions about his suitability for the post.
First oil is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, which is the same year that Guyanese will head to the polls for national elections.