by Zena Henry
The new Cabinet is still in the making, but some key players expected to make up the government are already getting down to business.
This appears to be the case of veteran Guyanese politician Dr. Rupert Roopnarine who is tipped to be the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and one of three Vice Presidents.
While it is unclear whether the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government will be retaining the agency’s current name, it expected however, that some thought will go into the agency’s current location which is within the compound of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
Roopnarine told Demerara Waves Sunday May 17, that discussions are still to be had with the Coalition team as to certain steps to be taken toward the agency which will have responsibility for the entire nation’s natural wealth.
Roopnarine said, “I have thought about it,” when answering questions pertaining to the GGMC building. Under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government the GGMC building which was built to ease space congestion at their Upper Brickdam location, was taken away by then Minister Robert Persaud.
The agency was housed at Office of the President, but following the 2011 election, the agency branched out; looking for its own space, it occupied the Commission’s newly built three story structure located in the eastern corner of the compound.
Roopnarine said, “I believe that the GGMC should have their space.” He said however that nothing is confirmed since in fact, the Coalition is still working on the allocation of ministries. The GGMC, a semi-autonomous body, had kicked up a storm when the ministry took the building that was supposed to help with the 300 plus employees.
The ministry, which has authority over Lands and Survey, Forestry Commission and GGMC had made the mining agency purchase the still to be utilized High Street building for a whopping (US$3M) $600M.
On another note, Roopnarine will also be heading the agency at a time when Guyana is positioning itself to become a major oil and gas producer within the region. Very well placed sources say that Guyana has struck ‘black gold.’
According to the information, Guyana has found a large quantity of the commodity;” beyond commercial amounts”. The American company, Exxon Mobil, drilling offshore Guyana’s border with Venezuela, had announced earlier this month that the country had great potential when they found hydrocarbons.
Roopnarine said he would welcome this information and awaits Guyana potential in this area. “That would be great news for the country,” he opined.
Dr. Roopnarine is decribed as a world class professor of Comparative Literature who first became a Member of Parliament in 1995, holding several key Parliamentary appointments. In 2011 he was the Prime Ministerial Candidate for the APNU. In the 10th Parliament he, as an opposition member, was responsible for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The coalition has already identified retired Budget Director Winston Jordan to be the next Finance Minister, while former interim Secretary General of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group has been tipped to be Finance Minister in the new administration.