Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat recently appealed to members of the business community to cease being a vessel for the “crab-in-a-barrel” mentality. This phrase describes a group of like-situated people who hurt each other in attempting to get ahead. Failure to desist, the minister warned, will only give foreign entities the space they need to sail away comfortably with the spoils of the lucrative oil sector.
The minister said, “I know Guyanese are competitive in nature. If you go to the countryside, [you would see that] if one neighbour puts on a verandah then the next neighbour will do the same thing. If one extends his house, believe me, the other will extend his house too…We are genuinely competitive in nature, but we have to realize the difference today. We have to realize that the oil sector is very capital intensive and requires us to come together to reap the benefits.”
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Bharrat said there are glaring examples of Guyanese companies pooling their energies to take advantage of key opportunities for development. He said the Vreed-en-Hoop Shore Base, a US$300 million project led by three Guyanese businessmen, is an exemplary representation of the transformation that is possible when locals join forces.
He said too that a local consortium comprising Ramdihal & Haynes Inc., Eclisar Financial, and Vitality Accounting & Consultancy Inc. is being supported by international firms, SGS and Martindale Consultants, in auditing ExxonMobil’s costs.
As another testimony of what is possible together, Bharrat said the government helped establish a consortium of Guyanese caterers who are now preparing a proposal for food supply to Dutch shipbuilder SBM Offshore. This contract caters for food needed onboard the Liza Destiny, Liza Unity and Prosperity FPSOs from next year.
Minister Bharrat said much more can be accomplished on the regional and international scale if more stakeholders can be driven in this direction.