‘Focus on improving infrastructure’ – UK Diplomat says of oil revenue

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By Bibi Khatoon

As the debate continues about what should be done with the oil revenues to ensure every citizen benefits, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn believes the country’s infrastructure should be a priority.

While he is not entirely against giving citizens cash, the UK Diplomat believes that this should only be done if that citizen uses the money wisely.

“Well rather than give somebody US$5,000 to spend on whatever it is they want to spend it on…Do you consider giving somebody US$5,000 to set up a business?’ …So you know, they can then use that money to support and build their own sort of self-sufficiency,” the diplomat told a news conference Friday at his residence in Bel Air Gardens.

The idea of cash handouts was first proposed by Professor Dr. Clive Thomas and it has since sparked a heated debate on social media and within the Government.

The Diplomat said he has seen arguments for and against the proposal but he thinks that the development of infrastructure will benefit the population directly.

“If I was sitting and I knew that this oil money is coming in, then the first sort of things I’d want to be doing, is the infrastructure.

“That’s the roads, that’s the ports, that’s the schools, that’s the hospitals, all of that sort of stuff,” the High Commissioner opined.

His view supports suggestions raised by the political opposition.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo had told the media that “conditional transfers” should be examined as it involves transferring monies for specific purposes which can see long-term benefits. Jagdeo had questioned the implications of cash handouts during years when oil prices collapse for long periods.

President David Granger subsequently stated that did not receive any formal proposal on the matter and is unaware of its evidential basis.

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