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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Outgoing head of Guyana’s Department of Energy says ‘still willing to serve’

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OilNow is an online-based Information and Resource Centre which serves to complement the work of all stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in Guyana.

Character, integrity, perseverance and contentment–these are the qualities that outgoing Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe says are integral to his successor executing their duties within an agency that has played a critical role in the development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry.

Dr. Bynoe was the first Director of a Department that was new to Guyana–established in 2018. His services will officially come to an end on December 11.

In a recent interview with OilNOW, Dr. Bynoe said, “I am a Guyanese, and I am willing to see whatever is necessary for Guyana to move forward.” In fact, he firmly stated that if he is called to serve his country in a way that aligns with his values, he is more than willing to do so, saying, “I am serving the people of Guyana.”

With a doctoral degree in Economics, the University of East Anglia graduate specialises in Resource and Trade Economics; and he is also the holder of a Master of Science degree in Resource Management. He has also served as the Director, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) of the University of Guyana as well as Senior Economist and Executive Director for the Private Sector Commission. Prior to his engagement with the Department of Energy, he served the  Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) as a Senior Resource/Environmental Economist, as well as the Project Development and Management Unit (PDMU) within the Centre, later becoming the Assistant Executive Director.

When he was appointed as Director of the Department of Energy in 2018, Dr. Bynoe reminded that there was no existing structure in place, so upon taking office, the process of building the agency began. A structure had to be developed and the most important resources–human resources–had to be acquired. “And one of the first things we did with assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank, to which we remain eternally indebted, was to hire Ernst and Young to help us to elaborate a structure,” he said. He reminded that the Department was able to recruit key experts for the oversight of the sector–including for the marketing of Guyana’s oil resources.

When asked what his advice would be to his successor, he said, “Just keep your head down, stay focused, try to drown out all the noises.” He later emphasised, “Always seek to do what is in the best interest of the nation. It can be a very lonely job because you’ll always be pleasing some and displeasing others.”

Positing that humility is also important, he urged that they maintain the core principles of the organisation that he helped to build. “… effectiveness, seeking to be efficient even though you are a public sector entity, you have to be efficient because it’s always about value for money. Continue to be as transparent as you can [so] that persons are comfortable because this industry comes with a lot of negativity globally, not in Guyana alone, but globally. So, transparency is important…and keep your integrity intact.”

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