Norton feared that the government would not ensure that ordinary people benefited from the oil resources

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Opposition leader Aubrey Norton said today the government is creating an environment in which ordinary citizens do not benefit from the country’s oil and gas resources.

His comments came in response to comments made by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo last week while speaking at an outreach in Berbice.

When contacted, the vice president said insufficient revenue is currently flowing from the oil and gas sector and urged citizens to temper their expectations.

Today the opposition leader said the government led by Vice President Jagdeo appears to have set the stage for very few to benefit from the country’s oil resources.

“At the inauguration of the government in Bath (WCB) last Wednesday, he dashed the hopes of Guyanese citizens by declaring that there was insufficient income from the oil and gas sector. That’s a lie. It’s a clear attempt to ensure our people don’t benefit from it. It is also a violation of the fundamental rights of our people. In that case, Jagdeo recited his government’s claim that Guyana’s current and projected oil revenues are insufficient to raise the living standards of the masses,” the opposition leader said.

Mr Norton said the opposition believed the government’s approach aimed to deprive Guyanese of their advantages while benefiting a select few.

“Exxon’s own projections show Guyana moving from 120,000 barrels of oil per day in 2020 to at least 800,000 barrels of oil per day in 2025. This corresponds to an increase of over 550% in just a few years! It will lead to a gigantic increase in GDP, unmatched by anything in the history of our country. Within a few years of oil production, Guyana’s GDP will have doubled. The problem, however, is that the PPP is preventing these resources from reaching our people,” Norton said.

The opposition leader says his party believes that Guyana’s current and projected oil wealth, if well managed and used to fund a holistic, people-centred development strategy, will end poverty, expand and improve the quality of life for all Guyanese, and transform Guyana in general can be in a developed state.

The government has repeatedly stated that all citizens will benefit from the oil resources. It has pointed to planned massive infrastructure works and other initiatives that will create jobs.

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