by George Alleyne
The CARICOM neighbour with the largest number of nationals in Barbados, Guyana, observed its 49th year since becoming a republic, and nationals here got together for an evening of fun and food amidst in a celebration of confidence in the future.
Like Barbados, Guyana attained independence from the UK in 1966 but the South American mainland country moved on to sever constitutional ties with Britain a few years later by becoming a republic state on February 23, 1970.
Consistent with the close Barbados-Guyana relationship, some familial, for more than 150 years, Guyanese in Barbados currently comprise the largest group of non-nationals on the island according to the last census of the Barbados Statistical Service.
Guyana’s Consul General to Barbados Cita Pilgrim spoke to her compatriots of the period of high expectation that has now gripped the country.
“Guyana is on the brink of producing large quantities of oil. The expected revenue from this production will be astronomical,” she said in brief remarks at the Consulate’s Harbour View House, Highgate Park, Collymore Rock, courtyard.
Her statement comes against the backdrop of US Geological Surveys estimating offshore Guyana to be holding up to 14 billion barrels of oil. This is in an area said to be the second largest undeveloped oil field in the world.
One of the major explorers, Exxon, is set to begin oil extraction early next year at 120,000 barrels daily, moving up to 750,000 by 2025.
“The revenue will be used and controlled for the benefit of all Guyanese. Structures are being put in place with the assistance of international organisations that will ensure that all Guyanese and Guyanese institutions benefit from the wealth which will be generated,” Pilgrim assured the scores of Guyanese attending the greet-and-eat session.
“The certainty is that the Guyana of tomorrow will be completely different from that of today in material terms and the generation of this wealth will provide us with a platform from which national goals can be totally achieved.”
A hiccup in this promising near horizon has been political unsettlement cause by a vote of no-confidence in Guyana’s parliament, and the validity of this is now the subject of a series of court hearings that are expected to end at the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“I know that the political situation at home is commanding your attention, as it is that of the international community,” Pilgrim said before going on to comfort her country people.
“The Government of Guyana is committed to the preservation of the rule of law and is abiding and will continue to abide by the requirements of the constitution and the courts of law. The decision of the final court will be respected. At the same time the government of Guyana accepts its responsibilities and will continue to carry out those responsibilities until the courts have delivered their final decision.”
Nonetheless she added, “The stage is set for a tomorrow of which dreams are made… a future where all Guyanese can establish for themselves health, wealth and prosperity for all times.”