7th of October, 2021. Georgetown, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: October 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Prior to the March 2, 2020 elections, the then APNU/AFC government had sold a fairy tale dream of unimaginable wealth and development that would have come to reality through oil production in the coming years. Were they being real or was it all nothing more than the usual overhyped political campaign? The APNU/AFC lost the elections so we will never know whether or not they would have made good on those glorious promises. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Guyanese today seem very unimpressed with the unraveling of things under the current PPP/C administration. Nearly two years since oil started pumping out of Guyana’s vast oil reservoirs, while doubtless many business tycoons have multiplied their millions, the standard of living appears distressingly unimproved for the average person on the ground.
Every time I see oil discovery, it makes me angry because the poor people are not seeing or getting anything from all of these resources. Foreigners continue to drain our beautiful land. Guyanese are barely making it to buy food to eat and pay bills just so we can live a decent life. One would think that with a country that is rich in resources and with such small population…that we would all be living the dream, but we are not.comment posted by Guyanese citizen on the Guyana, south america facebook page.
The most recent oil discovery by ExxonMobil drives Guyana’s proven oil reserves up to ten billion barrels of mostly sweet light crude. While this spells big money for huge corporations and the Guyana Government, how is that money affecting the lives of the common people on the ground?
Guyanese are still struggling with high unemployment rates, despicably low wages and salaries, and poor working conditions which discourage many people from even seeking a job in Guyana. Many private sector companies are still breaking the backs of employees with slave-like labor, deplorable working conditions, and little to no employment benefits.
Further, local citizens on the ground have, on innumerable occasions, complained about harassment, extortion, and persecutions meted out to them by vultures within government agencies such as the Food and Drug Department.
On the flip side of the coin, the environmental impact of such large scale oil extraction will have to be cushioned by a plethora of environmental support projects.
As Guyanese, we can no longer bask in the fleeting pleasure of being called an oil rich nation while the average citizen continues to suffer. And we certainly cannot engage in lazy and damaging analyses and false equivalences of Guyana’s current situation by comparing it to countries of such stellar success as the United Arab Emirates.
Unless all of the problems mentioned in this article is tackled forthwith, Guyana stands a greater chance of becoming an oil ruined nation rather than an oil rich nation.