Persad-Bissessar plans to leverage TT’s O&G expertise for jobs in Guyana’s emerging industry

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Trinidad and Tobago’s (TT) Opposition Leader

Trinidad and Tobago’s (TT) Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar is promising to create 50,000 jobs if re-elected Prime Minister in the twin island republic. Some of the jobs, she said, could come from opportunities in Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry.

According to an April 28 report in the TT Guardian, Persad-Bissessar was at the time speak­ing at the United National Congress’s (UNC) 30th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions at the car park of the UNC’s Cou­va South con­stituen­cy of­fice in Cou­va.

In her ad­dress, Per­sad-Bisses­sar took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to re­veal some of the plans she has for the coun­try if her par­ty wins the elec­tions. Not­ing that many young peo­ple are ei­ther un­em­ployed or un­der­paid, she said, “So, you are now on the verge of giv­ing up. You feel you are a bur­den on your par­ents. And your time spent in school was wast­ed. Do not give up. I promise you to­day that we will make, as our first pri­or­i­ty, the cre­ation of 50,000 well-pay­ing jobs. We did it be­fore. We will do it again.”

The for­mer prime min­is­ter al­so an­nounced plans to im­me­di­ate­ly re­struc­ture the health sec­tor to make it a hub for med­ical tourism that will em­ploy doc­tors, nurs­es and health care providers.

“We will man­date our for­eign mis­sions to iden­ti­fy the jobs of the dig­i­tal fu­ture and pre­pare you to take them up. We will lever­age the ex­per­tise in our en­er­gy sec­tor and care­ful­ly match that with man­pow­er needs in near­by Guyana to the mu­tu­al ben­e­fit of both coun­tries.”

In September 2018, Persad-Bissessar had urged the government in the twin-island republic to pursue a partnership with Guyana to refine its oil in order to avert the closure of the Petrotrin refinery.

“I understand Guyana has found another well and they are producing, can we not group in some way and find a way to work together as a Caricom (sic) where we can help them refine their oil?” she asked at the time.

Reacting at the time, former Guyanese Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, had said Guyana oil industry should not be Trinidad’s ‘next meal’. “Do remember none or even limited opportunities were given to Guyanese during TT’s 110 years plus as an oil and gas producer.  Guyana will neither be the bogey-man in your political gambits nor be allowed to be only the convenient rainy-day friend because we are to be the next largest oil and gas economy of the Caribbean,” he said.


  1. I must comment on the small minded response to Trini overtures re refining opportunities from Robert Persaud re “Guyana will neither be the bogey-man in your political gambits nor be allowed to be only the convenient rainy-day friend because we are to be the next largest oil and gas economy of the Caribbean” Whether or not Guyana should have a standalone refinery is a moot question – unless for global export a la Hovensa, Petrotrin, Aruba etc. there seems little advantage in building beyond internal demand, and a joint venture in the region may make greater sense and avoid billions in grass root construction in an already tight market. I believe an expansive view is required and cooperation with any country neighbour such as Venezuela, Suriname, or Brazil would be more synergistic than a go it alone refining policy! Cooperation is better than confrontation and all border disputes can be resolved. Oil is a fungible resource and can be used in a variety of JV scenarios within and without the CariCom Region.

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