THIS year was shaping up to be a hopeful one for Guyana, South America's second-poorest country, after Bolivia.

By early next year, oil should start flowing from vast offshore reserves discovered by a  consortium led by ExxonMobil, an American company.

By 2025 it hopes to be extracting 750,000 barrels a day. That would be worth $15bn a year at current prices., quadruple Guyana's current GDP.

The government will get a windfall that could transform the fortunes of Guyana's  750,000 people.

Now politics has provided a plot twist. On December 22nd the government of President David Granger lost a vote of no confidence when a legislator from from his coalition rebelled.

Under the Constitution, presidential and legislative elections must be held within three months.

The  petro-cash raises the stakes. Whichever party is in the government when it comes has a good chance of staying in power. Mr. Granger's People's National Congress, a mainly Afro-Guyanese party, hopes to be in office on the normal election in August 2020.

It's main rival is the  People's Progressive Party [PPP], which is dominated by Guyanese of Indian origin, whose forebears came as indentured  workers on the country's sugar plantations.

It governed for nearly 23 years until 2015. It hopes to return to power before the oil bonanza. In local-government elections in November it won 64% of the vote.

The  no-confidence vote was a soap-opera .

Charandra Persaud, the Indo-Guyanese backbencher who wiped out the government's one-seat majority by switching sides, gave  no warning. For if had, the leader of the government coalition could have sacked him first.

Mr. Persuad has gone to Canada, where he remains.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Guyana, Poverty and Politics, continues. The World Students Society thanks The Economist.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!