Following the announcement of ‘first oil’ in Guyana, many Guyanese have expectations of transformation and development in the country.
Amidst the hectic downtown traffic, the Guyana Chronicle took to the streets in efforts to get the views of citizens on this major announcement.
A young teacher, Darnell Douglas, said that he hopes that the money that will now flow in will be invested in areas that aren’t usually the main focus areas. “With the fruition of oil in our country, my expectations for the country’s development, if managed properly are that we should see more development in terms of sports. I’m a big advocate for sports so I want to see more things in sports, more things in arts, more things for the creatives. I might sound bias because that is my field as well, but I just hope that those monies are used in those sectors…,” he said.
Edmond John said, “I expect good management and honesty from the controllers. Just set the country in a position we have never really achieved before. Is all up to the politicians, the government and the opposition to come together in an honest way, and see that the benefits reach the citizens. Come together and see that the citizens themselves benefit from this thing. And we don’t incur the same things that happen in the other countries.”
Business Editor of Stabroek News, Arnon Adams said “Now mind you, with 600,000 people as the population right now, we will need more people here. 600,000 people can’t spend this money. But my own view is that I think this country can fly if we get it right.
One of my concerns has to do with the management of the money.
Poor countries that find oil are vulnerable to corruption and never mind the good feeling that people have, there’s nothing to say we might not go down the same road. Managing the thing is going to be the challenge, because we know very little about oil. The Chronicle’s journalists, our journalists, Kaieteur News, everybody has to my mind, been struggling with writing on Oil and Gas. But I presume that there will be more training as we get on in Oil and Gas, we’re gonna become more knowledgeable. But education for example, we need better schools, we need more teachers, we need more technical education.”
Devindra Jairam said that when he looks at the other countries that have oil, the people who are managing it, has to really know what it is they are doing.
Jairam posited too, that he hopes that other industries will not be neglected, as oil is now the main focus. “It seems like we’re focusing too much on the oil industry that we are not really paying attention to the other industries that currently exist. So I have a fear that so much emphasis will be placed on oil that we will start to neglect the fishing, agriculture, rice and these sort of things. And that’s my major concern. I mean we are all excited, it’s a new thing, and it’s big. The reservoirs that we discovered are so big, that the opportunities that we are now exposed to are really good, but still we need to strengthen the other industries,” he said.
Punkrock/creolerock star Gavin Mendonca shared that with his knowledge from research, he expects a lot of great things, but there is a flip side to which he hopes the country will not suffer from poor management.
“I do expect positive to come out of it, I hope positive would come out of it. I guess as a punk rocker, and by doing my own research I have seen what the discovery of oil has done to other countries, and how things roll out over the period of years that followed the discovery of oil, and I’m hoping that we don’t suffer the same fate as some of those countries. I expect our government, regardless of who is President or who is in office, to go about it in the most professional or ethical way possible. I expect all Guyanese to benefit equally or at least with equity from oil revenue. I expect transparency, I expect honesty, and I expect loyalty. I expect a lot of good things to happen, but put aside all the good things that could happen, I think it’s an opportunity for us to reflect on who we as a people, what we want for Guyana, and to consider the environment more than anything else,” Mendonca said.
Entrepreneur, Dason Anthony said that the business community now has to up their standards to fully benefit from Oil and Gas. “As a young businessman I think it is going to do a great deal for small businesses in general, it is going to definitely boost their businesses, and that’s once they set themselves in order. Because they just can’t expect to make money out of the oil by sitting back and waiting to get something out of it. You have to step up. Change up your customer service, ensure that your service is customer friendly, and ensure that you have everything organised and set so that you can start making some money from the oil industry,” Anthony said.
Businessman, Zahaed Hussain said “It will make the country get rich. As they said, they will be educating the people more, because oil is something new. But it is very needed in the country and I say it will help the country a lot.”