By Bibi Khatoon
With oil production set to start within a year, the British envoy has urged the country’s leaders to ensure that the benefits derived from the sector are filtered down to each of its citizens.
Speaking at a reception to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday on Thursday evening, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn warned that if the country does not reach its full potential post-oil production, the Government and Opposition would be the ones to blamed.
“It is up to the political leadership to do what needs to be done to actually show a desire to move beyond potential to reality…to work for everyone to benefit – everyone.
“Frankly if that does not happen, it will be a shameful legacy,” he said.
The British High Commissioner noted that “the Government and Opposition must work for all the citizens of Guyana…If this does not happen, I fear Guyana will not develop and we will continue to hear the tired old mantra of how much potential Guyana has.”
He was at the time referring to the fact that despite the production of gold, diamond and bauxite, which have significantly contributed to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product over the years, the country has not developed fully.
The High Commissioner, whose tenure was expected to come to an end in August of 2019, will be here for another year. He has promised to remain frank in his comments on various issues.
“Annoying or upsetting people was and is never my intention but at the same time, I make no apology for anything I have said or anything I have done. Everything I have said needed to be said. Everything I have done needed to be done,” he noted.
Speaking just after Mr Quinn was President David Granger. He commended the High Commissioner for his work done here and pledged continued support.
“British assistance, during your tenure High Commissioner, has touched the hinterland and coastland, the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations,” he noted.
President Granger said, “Guyana looks forward to continued collaboration with Britain for the protection of the environment, the promotion of security and the development of the economy through enhanced investment and trade between our two countries.”
The President said the relations between Guyana and UK are founded on mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; cooperation for mutual benefit; respect for international law and treaties and the maintenance of international peace and security.
Following its Independence from Britain, Guyana established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom on May 26th, 1966.
That country has since offered support to Guyana in the fields of security, agriculture, disaster relief, education, economic competitiveness and investment among others.