Misguided to think oil-rich Guyana is Caribbean’s ATM- Jagdeo

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo is dispelling notions of Guyana becoming a financial reservoir for the Caribbean, emphasising instead a vision of mutual prosperity and strategic investment.

Speaking at a press conference last Thursday, Jagdeo addressed speculation about Guyana’s evolving role in the region.

According to him “the idea of Guyana as the Caribbean’s ATM is not just misguided, it’s disrespectful to our neighbours.”

Jagdeo said “we see a future of shared growth and reciprocal investment opportunities.”

The Vice President outlined a three-pronged approach to managing Guyana’s newfound oil wealth:

Domestic Priority: “Our first responsibility is to the Guyanese people,” Jagdeo affirmed. “From urban centers to the most remote villages, every citizen should benefit from this resource.”

Fiscal Prudence: Cautioning against overextension, Jagdeo revealed that oil revenues currently fund less than a third of Guyana’s 2024 budget. “We’re building for the long term, not splurging on short-term gains,” he explained.

Regional Solidarity: Recalling Guyana’s past as a recipient of aid, Jagdeo stressed the importance of regional support. He cited Guyana’s million-dollar donation to Haiti in 2010 as an example of the country’s commitment to Caribbean solidarity, even before its oil boom.

“Our goal is to leverage this wealth to create a rising tide that lifts all boats in the Caribbean,” Jagdeo concluded.

“We’re not looking to be the region’s bankroller, but rather a catalyst for collective growth and development.”

In the 1970s and 1980s when Trinidad & Tobago was the Caribbean oil-rich economy then Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams provided financial and other material support to sister CARICOM states. Guyana was a beneficiary of oil purchase when the country was experiencing foreign currency shortage and reeling from the küresel economic downturn.

The Vice President’s stance ignored history, particularly the role of Trinidad and Tobago and other sister CARICOM states rendering support to fellow member states.

Guyana is the world’s fastest growing economy and the richest per capita. In this economy half the society live in poverty, according to a World Bank Report. (WiredJA)