MEDIA ADVISORY: Transforming Guyana, Episode VII: Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Gas Economy

Production of the Guyana Business Journal & Caribbean Policy Consortium.

December 19, 2022

MEDIA ADVISORY:

Transforming Guyana, Episode VI: Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Gas Economy

Recording Available Here:  

Key Quotes

Speakers:

  • Terrence Blackman: Founder, Guyana Business Journal
  • David Lewis: VP, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium
  • Sydney Allicock: Former Vice President, Guyana & Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs
  • Florence Alexi La Rose: Consultant, Sustainable Development, Community Building, Rural Development, Indigenous Peoples
  • Trevon Baird: Lecturer, Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana. Coordinator, Amerindian Research Unit
  • Charlene Wilkinson: Lecturer, Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana. Coordinator, Guyanese Languages Unit

Relevant Quotations:

  • Dr. David E. Lewis:
    • “There is a need for a wholistic and integrated approach to economic and social development in a way that provides effective participatory integration of the various Indigenous nations and communities in Guyana, which hither to have been to one degree or another not central part of development initiatives of past governments.”
    • “We hope that this will lead into more discussions in the future to really leverage the opportunities that Guyana has now to really be cutting-edge examples of how to integrate Indigenous nations into this process and make sure that the resource availability is there to jumpstart and support the development needs of these communities, not only at the national level but particularly at regional and local levels.”
  • Sydney Allicock:
    • “For us as Indigenous peoples the time is right and it’s now our opportunity to get to that point of being able to manage our affairs. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to talk about the involvement of the Indigenous peoples in the oil economy and the environment.”
    • “I would like to say this is a lot of money you’re talking about and it’s a great opportunity to which we need to focus and be able to develop the plan, a plan of action, a plan that will give us not only sustainability but regenerative operations especially with regards to mother nature from where all oil and diamonds have come. […] This is an opportunity for us to have this plan of action that will allow each and every Guyanese to benefit, but more so for us who have been in the hinterland taking care of mother nature while mother nature’s taking care of us—to step up and say exactly how we should be able to manage our development with the support of the new found riches of oil and the carbon credits.”
    • “Train people in banking, project managements, industries in various regions. We need to have a group of special youths studying the environment and natural resources so we can follow what we’re receiving and what direction we should take.”
  • Florence Alexi La Rose:
    • “In the context of oil and gas, there are three things that stands out as necessary to ensure the Indigenous population of Guyana are integrally involved in the process: education, training, and access.”
    • “When we talk about education and training, how can we benefit from revenues to upgrade education and training facilities and opportunities available to the hinterland communities? How can oil and gas training be made equally available to hinterland residents? Because of the challenges such as communication, they’re often the last to know about these trainings and opportunities or perhaps only a select few may be aware of what’s happening.”
    • “When we talk about access, we’re talking about access to critical information that will inform those opportunities that are available [like] access to opportunities to know when they arise and how to tap into these opportunities? The oil and gas sector does not only require person to drill the oil, there are many other opportunities that support the sector.”
  • Trevon Baird:
    • “I believe if we are to integrate Indigenous peoples into this transformation that we envision oil wealth will bring to our nation, we have to be prepared to be open-minded about what development is, and recognize the definition might vary across cultural groups.”
  • Charlene Wilkinson:
    • “When we talk about people owning their communities and owning the direction in which their lives are to go we cannot leave out the issue of language.”
    • “We are moving in the right direction, and I can’t be a hypocrite to say leave the oil in the ground.”
    • “So what I’m suggesting is that you have 10% of Guyana’s population, fastest growing population [Indigenous], it is something we should rejoice about. If we have that population recognized for the validity they bring to other ways of seeing and other ways of living through their languages, and make that our national project.”
    • “I think we can claim an element of settler and element of Indigenous, by really understanding and learning from our Indigenous peoples, so that those literatures that are created in the future […] that the whole universe or several universes of literature can be our future where the Guyanese people take the oil money and turn it into something beautiful.”

Terrence Blackman, Ph.D., Founder & CEO Guyana Business Journal terrence.blackman@guyanabusinessjournal.com

Dr. David E. Lewis, Fellow and Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium DavidLewis@ManchesterTrade.com

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