British High Commissioner urges Guyana to update development plan

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British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, speaking at a press conference on August 17, 2017 in Georgetown, Guyana.

Guyana’s National Development Strategy needs to be modernized and therefore, the Government of Guyana should consider seeking assistance in this process, especially since the country is moving in the direction of building a sustainable oil and gas industry.

This was the view of the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, who also said, “The National Development Strategy was introduced in 2002/2003 so it is somewhat out of date. So I think there is certainly an argument for someone (that may be us or someone else) to help look at how that development strategy needs to be updated to take into account a fundamentally different situation, which is oil and gas.”

The High Commissioner, speaking at a press conference at his residence in Georgetown, Guyana on Thursday, added that in order for the systems in the industry to work well, there needs to be an overarching policy or statement. This, he said, should outline clearly, “What is the goal for the country in twenty-five years or twenty years down the line and that is what the development strategy is and then everything else falls into place and gives a clear understanding of what needs to be done to address each of the specific areas identified in the strategy.”

Quinn said this view has been shared with the Government of Guyana, and if the UK Government is approached for assistance, it will be willing to offer its expertise.

Apart from that, he noted the urgency of the Government to create a legislative framework that can help to effectively manage the sector.

“The movement to do legislation to govern the sector and the setting up of the Petroleum Commission, the Sovereign Wealth Fund and local content are important elements to the sector. I think there is urgency around the legislation to make sure that Guyana…as a Government is able to oversee and manage what is coming down the line in two and a half years.”

However, he said there is a difference with pushing the legislation through and consulting, adding that consultation with the Guyanese people is important.

The draft National Development Strategy was launched in 1997 by the late President, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, but was revised some years later.

The aim of the strategy was to set out priorities for Guyana’s economic and social development policies for the next decade.