UK envoy urges political cooperation to ensure Guyanese benefit tangibly from oil

UK High Commissioner Greg Quinn (right) in discussion with President David Granger at the reception to mark the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

As Guyana prepares for first oil early next year, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn has urged politicians here to work together to ensure that the wealth garnered from the sector reaches all Guyanese in a tangible way.

“As we stand here today, Guyana is on the cusp of unparalleled wealth. That wealth must benefit each and every citizen of this country. Regardless of who they are or where they are. From the coast to the hinterland, from Georgetown to the smallest village – everyone must benefit. Government and opposition must work for all the citizens of Guyana. It is, after all, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” Quinn said.

He was at the time delivering his address at a reception at his residence last week to mark the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. President David Granger, PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali and a number of other politicians were present.

“If this does not happen, Guyana will never develop and we will continue to hear the tired old mantra of how much potential Guyana has. There is no question about that potential. But it is up to all the political leadership to do what needs to be done to actually show a desire to move beyond potential to reality. To work for everyone, to benefit everyone. If that does not happen it will be a shameful legacy,” he added.

Guyana is set for initial oil production next year, with ExxonMobil’s Liza Phase 1 forecast to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day at peak rates, a portion of which will accrue to Guyana. The production figure is expected to climb to 750,000 barrels daily by 2025.

With 13 discoveries to date, ExxonMobil in March revised its estimated gross recoverable resource from the Stabroek Block to approximately 5.5 billion oil-equivalent barrels, even as it forges ahead with exploration of the 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers) offshore area it holds.

The British envoy, who also announced that his tour of duty has been extended for one more year, until August 2020, reflected that since his posting here in 2015, there have been differing reactions to his stance on varying issues.

“In the course of my time here, I have made some people happy, and annoyed others. Annoying or upsetting people was (and is) never my intention. But at the same time, I make no apology for anything I have said or done. Everything I have said, I believed needed to be said. Everything I have done needed to be done. I do not apologise for telling the truth and I will continue to do so in my remaining time here,” he said.

London’s position on all Guyanese befitting from oil is similar to that of Washington as United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a congratulatory Independence Anniversary last month, said that the US is ready to assist to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from the country’s oil resources.

“The United States and Guyana have been friends and partners for decades, and we commend and encourage Guyana’s continued leadership on matters of regional concern,” he said, while adding that the American Chamber of Commerce-Guyana continues to create trade partnerships and opportunities, resulting in greater prosperity for both countries.

“As Guyana looks toward production of its oil resources, the United States stands ready to assist to ensure all Guyanese will benefit,” Pompeo said, adding that the United States looks forward to a future of strong ties and collaboration based on shared democratic values.

For his part, President David Granger told attendees that the United Kingdom remains a strategic partner of Guyana, even as he observed that the relationship between the two countries has provided valuable assistance to Guyana in numerous areas.

“Our relations are founded on the five principles. Those are mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; cooperation for mutual benefit; respect for international law and treaties and the maintenance of international peace and security. Britain remains a strategic partner of Guyana. Britain has provided valuable assistance to Guyana in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, culture, disaster-relief, education, economic competitiveness, governance, investment, law enforcement, trade, water supply and very particularly, reform of the judicial service, public sector and security sector,” he said.

The President said that Guyana has dedicated the Konashen Protected Area, located in the Rupununi Region and spanning an area of almost 7,000 square kilometres to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy – a forest conservation initiative – and this has demonstrated Guyana’s willingness to take practical steps on the preservation and protection of the environment.



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