Guyana’s oil resources will be prudently managed – Min. Walrond

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond defended the government’s use of oil revenue and opportunities made available to Guyanese as she presented her debate on the national Budget 2024 Thursday in the National Assembly.

The previous administration stated that the government has poorly allocated money across the sectors, failing to give adequate increases and focusing mainly on building infrastructure.

Minister Walrond during her debate presentation in the National Assembly

Minister Walrond argued based on two facts, the finite nature of oil resources, and the government’s long-term plan for sustainability.

“The first of these facts, Madam Speaker, is that oil is a finite resource it is non-renewable. It should go without saying that the revenues will disappear with it,” the minister stated.

She continued that the opposition must drop their façade which is that only the PPP/C government was aware of the oil reserves found on Guyana’s shores.

“The second indisputable fact…is that as Guyana went into the historical general elections of 2020. We all knew we possessed massive oil reserves. By the time the PPP/C released its manifesto in January 2020, Exxon had announced 16 strikes. And all of us …knew or ought to have known that Guyana possessed millions of barrels of oil and oil equivalents,” Minister Walrond affirmed.

The tourism minister argued that earnings from the oil industry do not warrant reckless spending. She highlighted the careful consideration given to oil revenue in crafting economic policies.

“…The measures contained in it were carefully considered with full knowledge of what was coming with respect to oil…Our team includes several seasoned veterans of the Ministry of Finance,” she stated.

Additionally, Minister Walrond countered opposition claims that infrastructure projects only benefit government-connected personnel.

“Continuing doesn’t suit their narrative…Their narrative is that the infrastructure benefits only the contractor, and the contractor is a friend of the government,” Minister Walrond underlined.

She continued The opposition does not see those roads, bridges, ferries, ports, hospitals, schools, air dromes’ and all the items of infrastructure as providing benefits for Guyanese for decades to come. For them, there isn’t any value in the infrastructural project.”

She reminded the Assembly that the needs of Guyanese citizens are foremost and paramount in government crafting economic policies.

Minister Walrond urged the opposition to stop “opposing for the sake of opposing” and instead guide their supporters to the opportunities that exist.

“There are people who look to the opposition for leadership and it is my contention, sir, that these people are ill-served by an opposition who oppose for the sake of opposing and do nothing to help or encourage their supporters to seize the opportunities that exist. And these opportunities do exist,” the Minister encouraged.

She strongly stated that the government has made opportunities available to all without regard to race, gender, class or political persuasion.

“Wherever we go, we continually encourage Guyanese to seize the opportunities available. We are telling people, especially young people, that this country is a country of bounty, a land of hope and of opportunity,” Minister Walrond affirmed.

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