British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, says the new oil producing country now has a real opportunity to use those revenues to strengthen its agriculture industry making it once again the breadbasket of the Caribbean, and perhaps even become the leader for renewable energy in the region.
During a recent appearance on a local radio show called Guyana’s Oil and You, Quinn was asked to say if he believes citizens are seeing early signs of the dreaded “oil curse” given the electoral fiasco.
The envoy responded, “I am not so sure to say that the oil curse is here, and I am a glass half-full person, and I think we need to focus on the positives and the opportunities. Yes, there will be problems, there will be issues, there will be concerns; nobody or no system is perfect.”
High Commissioner Quinn said that there are a number of steps Guyana can take to avoid the oil curse, particularly as it relates to the economic aspect of the phenomenon.
The envoy said that Guyana’s authorities have to ensure efforts are made to keep oil dependence at bay by building industries and skills which can be used across a range of businesses.
He said, “Guyana was once the breadbasket of the Caribbean. Here is an opportunity to rebuild that industry. Here is an opportunity to rebuild industrial aspects of it. Here’s the opportunity to become the regional leader in renewables. Aberdeen has dealt with the downturn of the North Sea oil and a lot of what it is doing is moving towards renewables.”
Continuing on his point, the official said that a lot of the skills like engineering and designing that can be used for an oil industry are equally applicable in the renewable industry. “And that’s why if you go to Aberdeen there’s a whole wind farm, which is one of the largest wind farms in the UK. So, this is an opportunity for Guyana to take the funding that comes from oil, use some of it obviously, to build an oil industry as much as is needed.”
But even as that is done, he stressed that Guyana should also think about becoming the Caribbean expert on renewable energy and building skills for that industry too.