Oil, Government Take & Spending: Navigating Guyana’s Developmental Challenges – 5

Introduction

To recall, today’s column wraps-up the discussion of the Governance Curse. This topic was identified as one of the strategic development challenges that the Government of Guyana (GoG) faces as it plans to spend its coming sizeable petroleum revenues. The column offers comments on the final item left to be considered, that is, the breakdown of the rule of law (governance matters) as a driver of the Governance Curse.

Rule of Law

When introducing the concerns of the Governance Curse, I had stressed that any breakdown of the rule of law engenders adverse impacts on governance. These generally foster “corruption and/or the diversion of natural resources revenues to private gain and not public benefit.” However, while the focus thus far has been on corrupt practices, it is my conviction that corruption alone does not adequately address the overwhelmingly adverse impacts of a breakdown in the rule of law. For this purpose, I recommend readers to the framework employed in the World Justice Project (WJP) as a guide for the application of the rule of law, in the context of the top-ten developmental challenges I have listed.

Furthermore, this is important for the navigation of the development challenges, for which I have posed that performance indicators can be introduced to measure success or otherwise as an outcome. Recall that, in the case of other development challenges, say Dutch Disease, I introduced indicators of this like “decline in global competitiveness,” and “appreciation of the nominal and real exchange rate.” Such indicators are measurable, so that Government’s performance can be more objectively, than subjectively, determined. This discussion is elaborated in what follows below…..