Georgetown, Guyana – (June 15, 2019) Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe said citizens must utilise technology to research and plan to position themselves to benefit from the oil and gas sector, even as the Department continues to engage stakeholders. The Director made these statements during discussions with stakeholders in Bartica, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) on Wednesday. Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council, Mr. Gordon Bradford; Mayor, His Worship Gifford Marshall, councillors, members of the private sector, civil society and 60 students from the Three Miles and Bartica Secondary schools participated in the session.
Referencing the changes that Bartica has been undergoing as it transitions into a modern, ‘green’ town, Dr. Bynoe noted that the Department is utilising the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040 model to put Guyana on a sustainable development pathway.
“We don’t have all the answers so we’re on a…listening tour because we haven’t gotten the money that starts flowing from oil directly yet, but we need to start planning what we want to do with these resources… These resources… belong to all Guyanese… and so it is up to us to start engaging in a conversation about what we want to see and how we want to see it done…. The [GSDS: Vision 2040] remains the best strategy that we have… This strategy sets out where Guyana wants to go by 2040. It sets out the pillars of secure economic development. It speaks to sustainable development as well as…protecting our environment,” he said.
The Energy Director explained that the strategy entails allocating resources to ensure that resources are not being compromised and at the same time, the environment destroyed.
“Instead. we intend to extract as much value from these resources as we can. Our mission therefore, is to efficiently and effectively manage our hydrocarbon resources for everyone… What we are aiming at is to optimise the value proposition to allow Guyana to transition to a more secure, cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy and sustainable development pathway. This entails examining other forms of energy so that when the oil resources are exhausted, we are not reverting back to [what previously obtained],” he said.
The Energy Director also dismissed the perception that the benefits will only redound to those employed in the oil and gas industry, pointing out that the Department’s goal is to determine how to use the revenues to improve the nation’s welfare. Citizens must also play their part by enhancing their education and skillsets and raising their standards so that they can benefit in the future, he said.
“If we want quick fixes, the oil and gas sector is not for us… If we want to be able to become rich overnight, the oil and gas sector is not for us… This is not gold, this is not agriculture, this is not forestry; you don’t plan today and reap tomorrow. It will take time and even though we’re expecting first oil in 2020, the pace of development is unprecedented. The industry average is between seven and ten years… We’re already moving at a fast pace. If we want to be able to participate, we need the necessary requirement … some of those are [raising] our standards…Guyanese have become too accepting of mediocrity and so we’ve got to raise our game… not only in terms of oil and gas, but in terms of the other sectors,” Dr. Bynoe said.
Director of the Council for Technical and Vocational Educational Training (CTVET), Mr. Floyd Scott agreed. Employers in the workplace that is going to emerge “speaks directly to employing an attitude, but it will train a skill. So what we need to be looking at, primarily, is that social behaviour that allows any employer to want you; to realize what you bring to the workspace and how critical thinking and perseverance can grow an organization and be part of the value chain which gives that organization the hope,” he said.
Dispelling the view that technical and vocation education is for school drop-outs, Mr. Scott said that TVET is designed, principally to provide access to and for employment.
“If you look at the global workspace, it’s very competitive and… competition speaks to… a consistent standard and quality of work that must be provided at all levels. It means that it is important for us to recognize that education … staying in school, is critical for growth and hope and TVET is so positioned to ensure that whatever is done within all technical vocational skill areas must subscribe to a standard… so that the workspace recognizes that they have the quality of staff who can deliver,” he said.
Mr. Scott iterated that every individual must take steps to remain competitive as “the only person who can leave you behind is yourself,” he said.