“Real GDP [gross domestic product] is projected to grow by 47.5 percent, a rate of growth which no other country in the world is currently projected to achieve in 2022,” said Guyana’s Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Just following the successful hosting of the International Energy Conference & Expo – February 15 – 18, The Co-operative Republic of Guyana observed its 52nd Anniversary on February 23, 2022 as a Republic. The occasion was marked with the celebration of Mashramani. In spite of the effects of COVID 19, it was for the first time that Guyanese celebrated this milestone with a feeling of a secured economic environment where anyone who is ambitious can achieve financial independence. Guyanese, unlike previous times are in a good place. The future looks great because Money answereth all things.
The relationship between Guyana and Saint Lucia is well documented. Saint Lucia is the only country in the world where the Saint Lucian identity is preserved. The town of Madia in the hinterland of Guyana is home to generations of Saint Lucians whose fore parents migrated to the then British Guiana to seek a better life. Many Saint Lucians used British Guiana as a stepping stone to prepare themselves financially to go to England and other countries, or to return to their homeland to purchase an estate or get into business. The rest is history. The movement of persons between Saint Lucia and Guyana, even though in different circumstances is about to occur again when Professionals and Entrepreneurs will be seeking out opportunities in Guyana. A projected 47.5% growth in GDP cannot be ignored.
It is my sincere hope that a few St. Lucians were able to attend the Energy Conference & Expo that I referred to earlier. It was in such demand that registration was closed early and many individuals like myself did not get an opportunity to attend in person. However, thanks to technology, persons who were serious about finding out about developments in the Oil and Gas Sector and in general were given the opportunity to attend virtually.
There were 820 delegates from 25 countries, 5 official delegations, 12 exhibitors, 4 heads of State, global CEOs in the energy fields, and 1,500 visitors to the booths.
Heads of Government from Ghana, Suriname, Barbados and Guyana, along with the Head of Exxon Mobil were in attendance and addressed the gathering which included Executives from major corporations around the world.
Hereunder are a few highlights I gleaned from the event
* Eleven percent of the world’s oil has been found in Guyana. Projected production in 2027 is one million barrels per day.
* The Oil and Gas Sector currently employs 3,500 persons and has 800 suppliers supporting the activities.
* The Government is committed to rigid fiscal discipline, placing emphasis on Education and Health, enhancing democratic institutions, and ensuring that money is not wasted.
* The main objective of the world leaders as it relates to Climate Change is to transition from Fossil Fuel to Clean Energy and ultimately to NET ZERO Carbon Emissions. The COP 26 conference committed to a number of goals that world leaders signed on to.
* Guyana is pushing ahead on all fronts such as Hydro, Solar, Wind, Vehicle Charging Stations, etc., and will be among the first to issue Carbon Credits.
* In 2021 US$150M was spent on power generation. As a result, it is necessary to deliver on the Gas to Shore project by 2024 in spite of the tight and ambitious timeline.
* Guyana is the largest oil producing country per capita.
* Guyana is in a unique position because of its massive forest, 86% intact, with standing trees, and with the change from Oil to Gas by 2024, and other Green Energy, Guyana will be able to achieve Net Zero Carbon status in the short term.
* Globally, 73 percent of the Carbon Emissions result from the burning of Fossil fuel for electricity, transportation and heating.
* Investors were invited to look into the other areas of investment including Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing, Eco-Tourism, etc. Guyana was referred to as the Food and Energy Capital of the region.
* Education is being targeted, not only the Oil & Gas sector but all sectors for persons to be educated both at home and abroad with scholarships.
* The Energy Corridor comprising of the nations of Brazil, Suriname and Guyana are forging relationships that will assist each nation in ensuring maximum benefits to their citizens.
* The Centre for Business Development Building Capacity was opened in 2017.
* Twenty five companies completed a mentoring programme and were ISO 9001 Quality Management System certified, free of charge.
* The Oil and Gas companies introduced a Health & Safety culture to Guyana. The period 2020 to 2021, Health & Safety performance was excellent with 800 days without incidents.
* Local Content Legislation will bring benefits to the local private sector.
* An Oil and Gas Technical Institute will be established.
* Consideration is being given to the reintroduction of the Remigration Scheme. The Diaspora was challenged to be a force for positive messaging.
The Conference was well planned and executed and brought the entire world up to date on Oil and Gas development and progress in the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. It is slated to be an annual event and will be held from 14th to 17th February, 2023.
In conclusion, I feel that the time is rife for Saint Lucian companies, especially those in the Services Sector to invest independently or establish Joint Ventures with their counterparts in Guyana. It is also an opportunity for established companies to pool their resources together and look into areas of farming, and the establishment of manufacturing operations that can produce competitively in Guyana.
Stay Healthy, Stay Safe! Blessings!
Freelance Journalist/Realtor/Business Consultant
Email: [email protected]