Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Turmoil between gov’t, opposition bad omen for coming of oil – Private Sector Executive

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Executive member of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Dookhoo, is urging the Guyana government and the lone opposition party – People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), to redouble their efforts at working together for the betterment of the South American nation, particularly with the coming of oil.

Mr. Dookhoo, himself a former Chairman of the PSC, said oil production brings with it unprecedented volumes of revenue which creates conditions for politicians to “behave more badly” than they normally would have.

“Too many times we have seen in Guyana and the Caribbean that elections cycles create a lot of hardship for both governments and citizens. On the one hand, as is the case in Guyana, there is no continuity when it comes to projects and programmes, so the new gov’t is always trying to find its way. On the part of citizens, they must contend with this unhelpful situation. Oil revenue can add to the discord and make things worse,” he said.

Upheaval in Guyana’s Parliament reached a climax a week ago when police were called in to remove an Opposition Member of Parliament after he did not comply with a directive from the Speaker of the House, to vacate the Chamber. This was after an incident in which the Speaker determined that the MP was “out of order”. While the government maintains that the MP was out of line and should’ve complied with the Speaker’s directive, the Opposition has condemned the resort to having police ranks called in to forcibly remove the MP. All this comes against a backdrop of conflict over the months between the two political groups.

“I would urge both the government and opposition to try harder to work together for the benefit of everyone. Everything is not a political fight. The lawlessness that occurs in Parliament is a bad example to children in this country. People do not argue about issues in Parliament. They attack each other like mad dogs in Parliament and that is not becoming of our leaders,” Mr. Dookhoo stated.

With oil production set to begin in 2020, Guyanese as well as the South American country’s partners in the Diplomatic community have been urging the government and opposition to find middle ground on key issues vital to ensuring the country successfully manages its new-found oil wealth.

A number of measures are currently being put in place, such as the setting up of a Sovereign Wealth Fund and legislation that would pave the way for a Petroleum Commission. Several of these initiatives are either currently before, or will soon be brought to Parliamentary Select Committees, where both government and opposition MPs must have an input.

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