Guyana and other Caribbean countries are working on a new regional plan as part of efforts to attract investors who can fund the region’s energy needs, President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced on Monday.
The Guyanese Head of State, while speaking at the opening ceremony of Suriname’s oil and gas summit in Paramaribo, emphatically stated that the Caribbean countries will not be bullied into ceasing oil and gas production, since there are pressing developmental needs here.
And together, the oil-rich countries will be crafting a common strategy that is expected to attract investors who will help fund development needs in the region.
“We are proposing to move rapidly on a regional energy strategy to look at all potential areas for investment, to bring investors together, to bring the markets together, and to see how as quickly and transparently as possible we can unlock those opportunities.
“By the end of the next quarter, investors can have a fair and clear understanding of what the energy strategy and energy needs of this region will be,” President Ali said on Monday.
Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago are the oil-rich countries of the Caribbean. Together with northern Brazil and potentially, Barbados, these countries are expected to meet the region’s energy needs.
Energy needs are also expected to be met as all countries transition towards the use of more renewable energy sources- be it natural gas or solar, wind and hydro power.
The three countries that are geographically located on the South American continent are already working towards the development of an energy corridor. And Guyana and Suriname, which are part of the prolific Guiana basin, are expected to pool natural gas resources.
With these plans, President Ali said that the oil- rich Caribbean countries “must work aggressively” and “have to remove bureaucratic delays and approach the projects with dynamism”.
He also called on the region’s private sector to capitalise on the increased developmental impetus and the opportunities for development that exist.
Why these efforts are all the more important, the President said, is because the region has been particularly vulnerable to external challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine/ Russia crisis and climate change.