US Ambassador urges Gov’t to spend oil revenues wisely

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As his tenure as United States Ambassador to Guyana will soon end, Perry Holloway has urged the Guyana Government to put its incoming oil revenues to good use.

The Ambassador will be departing Guyana by the end of this year, as his three-year term concludes.

He highlighted that with the large oil finds coming onstream, the problem of insufficient funding to complete projects will be a thing of the past. He was at the time addressing those gathered at a reception held at the Marriott Hotel to observe the 242nd Independence anniversary of the United States.

The formal part of the event began and ended with a presentation from Officers of the United States Marine Corps’ Colour Guard.

In the presence of President David Granger; Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo;  Government Ministers, former Ministers, members of the Opposition, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the business community, the Ambassador posited that “If things are done right and the right things are done, Guyana will be more secure and inclusive.”

He alluded to issues in Guyana including politics, poverty, unemployment, alarming levels of domestic violence and tolerance for people who are different.

“The ghosts of Guyana’s present includes politics that sometimes gets way too personal and uses issues like ethnicity to divide,” the US diplomat said as his speech for this year’s anniversary was crafted around the theme of Charles Dickens novel – ‘A Christmas Carol’ which speaks of the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present and future.

However, in spite of all the challenges, the Ambassador noted that Guyana’s future is brighter now than it ever was and he urged everyone to educate themselves on what is to come.

“As in any democracy, you need to hold your elected officials accountable, as well as domestic and international companies operating in one’s country. That said, you also need to analyse and make decisions based on facts and reality, not fiction and surrealism,” the US Ambassador pointed out as he called for all hands on deck to push the economy forward.

Responding to a statement issued by the Finance Ministry in March, which chastised the Ambassador for his views expressed in an Op-Ed on Guyana’s move to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund, Mr Holloway said it is not him who determines what is done with the country’s oil revenues but the Government and people of Guyana.

In March, the Ambassador had noted that it will not be enough simply to have a “rainy day fund” or even an investment fund, but to institute a revenue and investment framework that protects and effectively leverages wealth to transform the nation.

In response to the US diplomat, the Ministry had recommended that its bilateral partners “exercise restraint when pronouncing on Guyana’s national priorities, and to refrain from making premature statements on its petroleum resource management.”

Mr Holloway, however, pledged the US support to Guyana in developing the sector.

Meanwhile, President David Granger congratulated the US on its 242nd anniversary. He spoke of several areas in which Guyana received support from that country and noted that he looks forward to strengthening ties between Guyana and the US.

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