CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited (CPGL), a 25% working partner in the Stabroek block, donated a complete solar lighting community system to Moraikobai, the only indigenous village in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), with support from POWERCHINA, one of the world’s largest power construction enterprises.
The project was commemorated on Saturday with a formal handing over ceremony at the Moraikobai Village benab and the unveiling of a plaque in the community.
Speaking at the ceremony, President of CPGL, Mr Liu Xiaoxiang, shared the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that CPGL undertakes are designed for success and sustainability.
“We are interested in working together with communities to help them develop their own capacity. We wish to give them a level of capability that would enable them to develop themselves. In the words of Confucius, we are interested in teaching people to fish, not to give them fish.” said Mr Xiaoxiang.
A core team from CPGL and engineers from Power China visited Moraikabai in November to train and supervise the installation of 116 solar lights around the community. Residents were taught how to safely fix and maintain the lights with tools and other equipment including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated to the village for this purpose.
The wood for the poles was also sourced from Moraikobai, a largely logging community.
Toshao Derrick John shared that the Solar Light Community Project is Moraikobai’s second project with the Chinese oil company, citing a previous donation of beds to the Mahaicony Amerindian Hostel in September 2022.
“We have the capacity building; now local residents can actually fix anything that needs to be fixed when CNOOC is not here,” said John.
He went on to say that like every other part of Guyana, Moraikobai is “evolving” and even though the village is 96 miles up the Mahaicony River, “it’s not left behind and it’s not forgotten” because of partners like CPGL that are supporting this “upward rise.”
Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan attended the ceremony which also celebrated winners of the annual CPGL Green Energy and Renewables Essay Competition and launched the visit of the Chinese Medical Brigade on Sunday.
“This project is a good example of Chinese companies’ commitment and responsibility. The embassy will continuously encourage other Chinese companies to actively take part in efforts to help improve people’s livelihood in Guyana.“
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr Vickram Bharrat along with officials from the Ministry of Education and Region 5 also were in attendance.
In all 130 lights were given to the community along with eight flood lights for the playfield.
Resident Garfield John expressed his gratitude for the solar lights sharing that before flambeaus and torchlights were used to get around the village in the evening.
Bridgette France, a cook at the Moraikobai Guest House described the lights as a “blessing.” Other residents shared that the lights brought the community closer together, allowing them to play football and engage in group activities in the evenings.
16-year-old Sherry Clinton was afraid to venture out in the dark because snakes were hard to spot on the pathways, now the lights give her comfort “safeguarding the community” she said.
CPGL’s CSR initiatives are selected under four main pillars: developing Amerindian communities, promoting Education, the transition to Clean and Renewable Energy and fostering Safe and Thriving Communities. The Moraikobai Solar Light Community Project embodies all of these.
To date, CPGL has planned and implemented over 30 projects across six regions in Guyana in addition to partnering with Exxon Mobil and Hess on the Greater Guyana Initiative.
Some of the initiatives include scholarships for Oil and Gas disciplines at the University of Guyana, and gifting a new roof to Moblissa Primary School on the border of Region Four and Ten. Technical equipment donations to schools across Guyana and establishing active relationships with organisations like the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre and Joshua House.