“Don’t place all attention on oil” – British High Commissioner warns

first_imgAs Guyana continues to count the days until oil production, slated for 2020, British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn has issued a warning that the country should not direct all its attention solely towards the petroleum industry.Invited to speak at a private sector event on Friday last, the foreign official addressed a number of key concerns relative to the nation’s future and the development of the relationship shared between Guyana and the UK.British High Commissioner Gregory QuinnIn his presentation, Quinn alluded to the country’s anticipation of the endless possibilities which are expected to materialize once the oil and gas operations are up and running. In so doing, he emphasised, “It is important that all of Guyana’s attention is not placed on oil and gas alone. There is much else to be done to assist Guyanese businesses and the Guyanese economy.”The diplomat called for attention to be placed on the existing sectors, particularly agriculture and manufacturing, so as to maintain diversity and ensure a thriving economy. However, even as he cautioned against placing all of the nation’s resources into one proverbial basket, the British official is calling for the necessary preparations to be put in place, ahead of 2020.“It’s good to see that there are moves afoot to put in place appropriate legislation, be that on the creation of a Petroleum Commission or on the Sovereign Wealth Fund. But time is short, so it is important that such legislation is put in place as soon as possible,” he noted.He then underscored the importance of appropriate consultation with all interested parties throughout this process, be it the private sector, civil society, or members of the public.“The UK Government has been working with appropriate agencies in the country here to help provide the information needed for Guyana to be able to apply for Marine Stewardship Council Certification (MSCC). That certification would allow Guyanese fishermen and seafood processing companies easier access to global markets,” Quinn relayed.The British High Commissioner went on to say that alongside such certification is the need to ensure proper food safety legislation is in place. This, he said, provides the necessary assurance that food will be produced, stored, processed and so on in a way which protects the health of consumers.He referred to the Food Safety Bill which is currently in the making, saying that this legislation would be of great benefit to the country.Quinn believes this will place Guyana on the international playing field, competing alongside well-established nations in marketing its local produce.“All of this work is designed to protect all of Guyana’s resources, to ensure that Government funds are spent for the benefit of all, and to ensure property regulatory oversight,” he outlined.That way, the British diplomat highlighted, the oil industry would supplement the already existing sectors, which would inherently result in sustainable growth across the country.last_img