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Guyana should setup a special institution for transparency - Latin American Political Risk Analysis


By Kiana Wilbur

SAN DIEGO, California
Petroleumworld 05 25

Guyana has just about two years to prepare for first oil. In that time frame, it must establish several institutions, policies, and strategies all aimed at protecting the oil money from mismanagement.

But there is a reality that all Guyanese must embrace; Government's attempt at preparing a robust environment for oil and gas will not be right on the first try. There are, however, a few key things that can ensure that the country stays clear of the horrors of the resource curse.

According to Thiago de Aragao, Director of the Latin American Political Risk Analysis (the leading political analysis company in Brazil), Guyana would be wise to dedicate an organ to transparency in oil and gas.

In his interview with Kaieteur News in California, the Director said, “Most of the solutions to avoid corruption in the oil and gas sector will be long-term practices. These involve education, strong institutions, and an efficient judiciary, etc.

“But when you don't have time to prepare all those things efficiently, especially when a new sector is being developed in the country, one thing the government can do from day one is be transparent.”

Aragao continued, “For example, in Brazil, we have a dedicated organ to accountability called the Ministry of Transparency. This entity ensures there is open data, transparent information from all areas of the government and the daily agenda of each Minister is there on the site too.

“This is something very interesting because it enables the citizenry to make checks as it desires, the press is not in the dark and people can have better accountability from the government.”

The Brazilian Director added, “In oil and gas, transparency is key. If Guyana creates an organ of Government that enables transparency, it will demonstrate that it is serious about being a leading example to the rest of its emerging oil-producing counterparts. I am sure this is something that will benefit society and remove distrust.”

He noted that given Guyana's history with issues of corruption, such a move will go a far way and send “a fantastic signal of ensuring accountability” to the international market.

For more than 20 years, Guyana has struggled with the fight against corruption. In fact, when the coalition administration came into office in May 2015, a series of forensic audits were launched. More than 30 of the reports on those probes revealed just how deep the roots of corruption ran in various state agencies and even projects intended to improve the lives of the citizenry. To date, access to information by the press about crucial issues regarding the oil and gas sector still remains a challenge.

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Story by Kiana Wilbur from Kaieter News, reporting from California
05 27 2018

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