Encouraging Signs For Guyana’s Economic Future

Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman was in Toronto recently to attend a Mining Conference. During his brief and hectic visit, Trotman took some time to update members of the Guyanese Canadian Community on the most recent developments in his Ministry, particularly in regard to the recent oil discoveries. Both Trotman’s updates and his demonstrated personality gave those present a much-welcomed sense of encouragement about Guyana’s political and economic future.

According to the Official invitation Trotman’s March 4 meeting with members of the Guyanese-Canadian Community was actually billed as a “Stakeholder Engagement Session with the Guyanese Diaspora in Canada……the objective of the Engagement is for Minister Trotman to enlighten and update on developments in the Forestry, Mining and emerging Oil and Gas Sectors; as well as clarify Government’s plans, policies and programmes.” It was a pity that the arrangements for Session were sufficiently last minute as to have negated a full attendance for the Session, as those who were absent missed out on a presentation that was, in fact, absolutely superb.

Trotman’s PowerPoint presentation on his Ministry’s activities towards the further development of Guyana’s vast natural resources, was as impressive as his excellently crafted, easily understood, responses to the numerous questions which followed from those present. His demonstrated knowledge of the information, which was at times understandably highly technical was outstanding, as was his ability to convey it in a manner that allowed for a fairly easy grasp by everyone present.

At the end of the Session, after all the speeches had been made, Trotman spent some time intermingling with the audience. His interactions with everyone who approached him was at all times seemingly graced with genuine interest in what he was being told. The consummate politician in action for sure but again, with an engagement in interactions that were characterized by compassion.

I’ve known Raphael Trotman from the time he was a pre-teen, running around in his short pants in the yard of his family’s massive 2nd Avenue Subrynville home in Guyana’s capital city Georgetown. His sister Annande and my girlfriend at the time, Kin Bryan, were very close Bishop’s High schoolmates. In the many years since, I have kept myself abreast of Trotman’s impressive progression through the ranks of Guyana’s political elite.

Having done so, I have always had the sense that he was indeed destined for political prominence in Guyana. Having seen him in action during the March 4 Session, I am now even more convinced of that. So much so that I now believe that he could, should, well be Guyana’s next Presidential Leader.

Trotman seems to be in overly adequate possession of all the required capabilities to ascend to the highest office in Guyana’s politics. Watching him interact with his March 4 Session audience reminded me of having witnessed similar interactions by former charismatic, “people’s person” Caribbean leaders. Jamaica’s Michael Manley and PJ Patterson, Barbados’ Errol Barrow and David Thompson, even Guyana’s Forbes Burnham in his pre-dictatorial days are among those that readily come to mind. He definitely has a most engaging personality.

Trotman is in fact a member of a small group of relatively young Guyanese Government Cabinet members who have identified themselves as possessing all the necessary qualities to take the country forward to a much brighter political and economic future. The county’s Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure David Patterson, has impressed everyone with his roll up the sleeves, get the job done approach to his tasks. Cathy Hughes who has been given the responsibility for Guyana’s telecommunications development and Dominic Gaskin, double portfolio Minister of Business and Tourism, are the other members of the “young brigade” who’s performance of their respective Ministerial duties has been notably impressive.

Gaskin’s Ministry of Business has been further strengthened by the appointment of the dynamic Owen Verwey as GO-Invest’s CEO. For those not in the know, GO-Invest is the Government Agency responsible for stimulating and managing investments that can contribute to Guyana’s further economic development. Verwey has brought to Go-Invest a sense of utmost professionalism that is unfortunately sadly lacking in other Government Ministries.

With individuals like Trotman, Patterson, Hughes, Gaskin, Verwey and others of their ilk in charge of Guyana’s developmental proceedings, the county would appear to be on the right path. If as Trotman has indicated the anticipated future revenues from the oil finds can in fact be used to further much needed development in other areas, then Guyana could indeed be destined to finally realize its most obvious and immense economic potential. Encouraging signs for sure!