Former Human Resource Manager of the now defunct Omai Gold Mines Limited, Norman McLean, believes that an effective approach for the delivery of local content in Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry is to implement a system that allows for Guyanese trainers to be trained and equipped with the necessary skills which they can then pass on to other Guyanese.
In a presentation at the recently held Guyana Business Summit, organized by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), McLean said, “At Omai they had brought in special trainers in every possible skill; whether it is welding, mechanical, driving, blasting and drilling, or geology processing.”
He said the mining company had invested heavily in training and developed working relationships with learning institutions in Guyana that allowed for knowledge and skills transfer.
“We had invested in the University of Guyana and together with other investors, had established geological and other training opportunities for Guyanese. Therefore, as we speak, after the closure of Omai, many Guyanese trainers are still working in Suriname at our sister company Rosebel Gold Mines,” the former Human Resource Manager stated.
McLean, himself a former PSC Chairman and President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), made it clear that Guyana should not see oil and gas as a “cure-all” for the country’s challenges but merely one in a series of tools that can be used for national development.
“I hope we will not see oil and gas as the panacea to solve all of Guyana’s problems. Let oil and gas be the ‘gravy or topping’ and let us continue with prudent management to make the best of this glorious opportunity. We should use whatever wealth comes, to support and prop up sugar, rice and other products to make them viable,” he pointed out.
McLean, a retired Major General in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and former Chief of Staff, currently provides consultancy services to Reunion Manganese Inc.