While admitting that he has been listening to both sides of the argument over Professor Clive Thomas’ suggestion for part of Guyana’s oil earnings to go directly to citizens through a cash transfer, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, believes the country’s main focus should be to fix the infrastructure across the country.
Responding to questions this morning at a press conference at his Bel Air residence, Mr. Quinn said if he was in the position of the Government and saw the oil money coming, he would have been looking at improving the country’s infrastructure.
“If I was sitting there and I knew that this oil money is coming, then the first sort of things I would want to be doing, is the infrastructure…That’s the roads, that’s the ports, that’s the schools, that’s the hospitals, all of that sort of stuff”, he suggested.
Currently, the British Government is assisting Guyana with several infrastructure development projects under the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund.
Guyanese Economist, Professor Clive Thomas triggered a national debate on the oil earnings when he suggested during a recent community forum that a small percentage of the oil earnings could go towards direct cash transfers to every household.
He suggested a figure of US$5000 per household, but said it would have be to be tied to several conditions and would mostly target poor families as a way of assisting them to ease out of poverty.
The British High Commissioner said perhaps making the money available to get persons involved in business ventures might be avenue to consider.
““Well rather than give somebody US$5,000 to spend on whatever it is they want to spend it on. Do you consider giving somebody US$5,000 to set up a business? So you know, they can then use that money to support and build their own sort of self-sufficiency”, the British Diplomat noted.
The ExxonMobil company is expected to pour first oil in mid 2020. The company has discovered oil deposits in Guyana’s waters equaling more than four billion barrels.
Guyana stands to benefit from billions of US dollars per year, according to some financial analysts, when the oil revenue and taxes start to roll in.