Senior Director of Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), political analyst Remi Piet said Guyana’s general and regional elections which took place on Monday in the South American oil producing nation could be a close one to call.
Piet said the elections will prove to be a pivotal point in the country’s future economic outlook as it will determine who manages the windfall from oil production which commenced in December 2019.
“It is a very important election because of the capacity of the country to turn into a large oil producing power,” said Piet, just days before the March 2 elections in Guyana. He added that whoever wins the election will be placed at the helm of managing “unprecedented levels of financial flows” to the country.
Responding to the question on who is likely to win the election, Piet said that polling is a difficult task in Guyana compared to more mature jurisdictions, and therefore it was difficult to predict. “Here, both parties are likely to have at least 40 percent of the vote,” he said.
Piet, who is also co-leader of the firm’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Practice, noted the dichotomy between the country’s development trajectory and the continued tenuousness of its electoral patterns. “We are seeing development in Guyana but at the same time the politics in Guyana are still very much shaky,” he said, citing the December 21, 2018 vote of no confidence against the coalition government.
The discovery of oil in 2015, he said, has completely changed the economic perspective for Guyana and noted that the key issue is whether or not there are strong local content policies implemented as the country continues to manage its oil resources.
He is of the view that Guyana’s key challenge is determining what the country’s face will look like in the next five years, as this will depend on how well the new government elected focuses oil revenue spending on the population and works to improve transparency in institutions and doing business in the country.
Piet said that due to Guyana’s oil boom, the level of foreign investment has doubled, noting that in 2019 Guyana attracted between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion of overseas investment. “We are seeing the potential for economic development in Guyana being staggering,” he stated.