One of the state boards responsible for the approval of shorebase and waterfront developments, and other such facilities, has been warned that bureaucracy and red tape must not impede Guyana’s development, as the country is on track to experience major economic growth in the coming years.
On Tuesday, the new Sea and River Defence Board –headed by Brigadier Gary Beaton–was installed by Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill and in his address to them, he told the Board that the country is about to become a hotspot in the context of its burgeoning oil and gas resources and operations.
“Guyana will become a hotspot. Guyana has become a hotspot and it is going to become a bigger hotspot,” he said.
Recently, Hess Corporation—a 30% stakeholder in the prolific Stabroek Block–announced that they see the potential for up to 10 Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels in Guyana for the offshore production of oil. This would result in an increased need for supply vessels and the relevant shorebase and waterfront developments.
According to Edghill, “shorebase developments, waterfront developments, provision of facilities for wharves and berthing of ships and boats of all kinds have become a necessity, practically in every Region.” These, he said, are important for the transport of supplies and fuel.
In order to facilitate these developments, he said that persons must not experience difficulties in getting approvals and permits that are necessary.
The Sea and River Defence Board is charged with the care, maintenance, management and construction of the sea defences of Guyana, and without their written approval, no person can pursue the creation of any drain, trench or cutting so as to affect any sea defence, or proceed with “any construction, erection, alteration or thing in, about or upon any sea defense,” according to the Sea Defence Act.
Therefore, the Board’s approvals would be necessary for the construction of shorebase facilities, waterfront developments, wharves, and ports. In view of this, Edghill urged that bureaucracy come to an end.
“We are facilitating business in Guyana, we are not obstructing business,” he said. “So, when we come to this Board, and in our deliberations, it is not about giving people a hard time. It is about how to make it happen in keeping with the rules, ensuring compliance with our laws and ensuring that development takes place.”
He said Guyana’s future is one of great expectations and the way the country looks today will not be the same way it looks five years from now. “…and much of what will be happening will come to your boardroom for consideration, permits, for approval and we want to ensure that there is ease of doing business. People must want to do business in Guyana because we are a people that facilitates.” He stressed that, “Every time we delay an investor, a proposal, a project…. we are delaying Guyana’s development.”
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Shortly after taking office in August this year, the country’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali had said that the new government would be making waterfront development a priority to cater to the growing oil and gas industry, as under the current capacity, the country does not have the facilities to meet the projected increase in marine traffic over the next several years. The President has even tasked a minister to secure the services of international experts to work with the Government and the private sector on waterfront development, wharf facility development, and zoning development for Guyana.