Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman was in Toronto over the Mach 4-5 weekend to attend a Mining Conference. During his brief visit, Trotman took the time to address a March 4 audience of Guyanese-Canadians at a Stakeholder Engagement Session titled “Guyana Rising From Potential to Prosperity”, which was held at Toronto’s Westmount Event Centre. The session was held primarily to update members of the diaspora on the progress of the rich oil find and the potential it has for the future of Guyanese at home and abroad.
With expectations soaring in the event of the expected revenues from oil, Trotman in his excellent presentation and very well received address, said the Government has identified several infrastructural projects, including the construction of the road from Linden to Lethem, building a deep water port at Crab Island, Berbice and at least two hydro power plants.
“We are thinking and hoping we can bridge all three rivers (Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice) with high span permanent concrete bridges and we are looking at savings for future generations,” Trotman told the audience, which included Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Clarissa Riehl, Go-Invest Chief Executive Officer, Owen Verwey and Deputy Consular General, Candida Daniels.
Trotman said the idea is to “ensure every region of Guyana and every citizen have a direct benefit and it shouldn’t be in the hands of a particular Government or the minister of natural resources to determine who gets what…”
Trotman reminded members of the diaspora present that Guyana needed their help, support and expertise, while expressing appreciation for the assistance that has been forthcoming over the years.
He said Government has created legislation for the management of its resources, since it is a lot of money with less than a million people.
“The last thing we want to do is squander the opportunity when it comes by and overspending on things we have business in and ensuring we have money for generations to come.”
Quizzed on contingency plans, in the event of fallen oil prices, minister Trotman said Government intends to use the revenues from oil “to give us the platform into other areas so that we are not reliant on oil only”.
He said the road from Linden to Lethem, for example will provide volumes of trade.
“The Brazilians are anxious to get that road open because northern Brazil is landlocked, so they need access to a seaport urgently, so with the revenue from the oil that guarantees forever trade and earnings from oil. The idea is to get us out of the over reliance on oil.” Trotman said.