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Voters in Guyana go to the polls today, March 2, 2020

- Incumbent President David A. Granger faces rival Mohamed Irfaan Ali for top post
Guyana's President David A. Granger, left, representing the Alliance for National Unity + Alliance for Change, (UNPA + AFC) faces rival Mohamed Irfaan Ali, right, of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) for the top post. Photo: Internet Source
Oil production in Guyana is currently around 52,000 barrels per day but is expected to grow to 750,000 bpd from 2025. Photo:
Oil production in Guyana is currently around 52,000 barrels per day but is expected to grow to 750,000 bpd from 2025. Photo:
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, SA- With the recent discovery of huge oil reserves that could transform the nation of Guyana significantly, voters in the South American country will go to the polls today, March 2, 2020 in a general election that is potentially the most important electoral event since the country gained independence from Britain in 1966.

A new 65-member National Assembly will be elected for a five-year term, and the leader of the largest coalition or party becomes the country's president.

Guyana's President David A. Granger, representing the Alliance for National Unity + Alliance for Change, (UNPA + AFC) faces rival Mohamed Irfaan Ali of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) for the top post.

David A. Granger

Mr Granger, a retired army general, came to power in 2015, ending 23 years of rule by the People's Progressive Party.

Politics have been largely divided along ethnic lines with the Afro-Guyanese community mainly supporting President Granger and the Indo-Guyanese community - the descendants of Indian indentured labourers - backing the People's Progressive Party.

Mr Granger pledged to tackle corruption, nepotism and the waste of resources, but was hampered by his coalition's slender parliamentary majority.

In 2018, he lost a no-confidence vote which meant that new elections were ordered to be held within 90 days.

In February 2019, the electoral commission said it was unable to organise elections by March of that year and so the vote is only being held now.

Mr Granger's coalition says that if elected, it will distribute some of the oil wealth directly to citizens through cash transfers "for the purchase of essential items". It has also promised "conditional cash transfers" for single parents, public transit and elder care, among other items.

Mohamed Irfan Ali

The 39-year-old former housing minister has for the past 14 years been a member of the National Assembly.

His party has in the past been critical of the deal President Granger has struck with US oil company Exxon Mobil - the main foreign firm exploring the fields off Guyana's coast - calling it "too generous" for Exxon. It has pledged to "immediately engage the oil and gas companies in better contract administration/re-negotiation" if it is elected.

But, according to the BBC, in recent weeks, Mr Ali struck a more conciliatory note, praising Exxon for its "pioneering investment" in Guyana.

His party has supported "targeted cash transfers" geared towards the elderly, children and the poor, and the use of revenues to improve health care, reduce taxes, and save for future generations, according to Reuters.

Riches to come?

The election campaign has been dominated by plans on how to use the windfall from oil finds which could put Guyana among the top 10 oil producers in the world.

Production in the offshore oil fields - estimated to contain at least eight billion barrels - started last year.

Analysts question whether the country will be able to use the new riches to spark much-needed development, avoiding the so-called "oil curse" of economic mismanagement and corruption seen in other oil rich nations with weak institutions.

With a GDP per capita of less than US$4000, Guyana has long been one of the poorest countries in South America, with its top export earners being low-value commodities such as sugar, rice, timber, and bauxite. Optimists are pinning their hopes on oil to transform Guyana’s fortunes, and recently there have been signs that the tide is indeed turning. International consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to open an office, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey is rumoured to be next in line, and a mayoral delegation from Scotland’s oil city Aberdeen has “twinned” with Guyana’s capital city of Georgetown.

The government said it expected up to $300m (£230m) in oil revenues this year, a huge figure for its 780,000 inhabitants.

The economy is predicted to grow 85.6% in 2020, up from 4.4% in 2019.

Virgin Islands News Online will be the first to bring you the results of Guyana's general elections.

12 Responses to “Voters in Guyana go to the polls today, March 2, 2020”

  • bvi (02/03/2020, 07:35) Like (16) Dislike (4) Reply
    I with the black man the green team
  • E. Leonard (02/03/2020, 09:52) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Will Guyana be infected with resource curse (paradox of plenty)? Many countries, ie, countries on the African continent.......etc are rich in natural resources yet the masses are dirt poor. These countries invariably have a lower standard of living, quality of life, and per capita income than resource-poor countries; lower growth and development, less democracy and more corruption and mismanagement. What conditions result in the resource curse. Some scholars attribute the curse to the resource-rich countries lacking the economic mechanisms and skill sets to transform their good fortunes into productive outcomes for the masses. On the other hand, the resource-poor countries, ie, Japan, Switzerland.....etc have the capability and capacity to use their limited resources, along with imports to develop a high standard of living and quality of life. The Guyanese authorities should use the Black Gold (oil) to improve the lives of the masses, fuel economic growth and development as oil did for the Middle East. Guyana’s growth is projected to skyrocket from approx 4% to approx 80%. Guyana is large country with a small population(huge skill and brain drain) and with its large oil find, will all roads now lead to Guyana?

    It look like international/Multinational conglomerates are already on scene:
    Oct 30, 2019 · Hess (NYSE:HES) is in the midst of a significant transition. The energy company is working with ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chinese oil company CNOOC to develop a massive oil find offshore of Guyana
    • RealPol (03/03/2020, 12:06) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Real talk. Resource-rich countries lower standard of living than resource-poor countries. This is akin to the old Colonial days where all raw material had to be shipped to England and other European countries. In England, the imported raw material from the West Indies, Africa and Southeast Asia launched the industrial revolution. The factories using imported products improved Britons standard of living but kept people in the colonies poor and in poverty. Resources depleted , they cast the colonies adrift under the guise of independence.
  • Quiet Rebel (02/03/2020, 11:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Guyana is a large country( 76,000 square mile) with a population of approx 786,000 and a population density of 10 people per square mile. According to experts, Guyana is poised to be one of the richest countries in the world. Hopefully, the wealth attain from oil would spread through the country and benefit the masses. Guyanese at home and abroad should have their spirits buoyed. They must demand that the new found wealth is managed effectively to benefit all Guyanese.
    • reality (02/03/2020, 18:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Correction, 83,000 sq miles.
      • Quiet Rebel (03/03/2020, 08:15) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Reality, my bad......thanks for the correction. 83,000 square miles is indeed the correct number with 76,000 square miles being the land area and the remainder water.
  • $$$$$$ (02/03/2020, 11:27) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am not optimistic...
  • burbee (02/03/2020, 12:19) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Green team
  • Disinterested (02/03/2020, 14:08) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Post Emancipation, Indian Labourers were brought from India to Trinidad and British Guiana ( Guyana) as indentured workers. Today, their descendants make a significant % of the population of both countries. The majority populations of both countries are Indo-Guyanese/Ind-Trinidadians( no offense to Tobagoians) and Afro-Guyanese/Trinidadians. Over the decades, there have been racial disunity between the groups. It goes back to Forbes Burnham and Chedi Jagan. Leadership of both countries seem to rotate between Blacks and Indians. But regardless of whom are in power, the focus seems to be on race rather than on the country. For the advancement of both countries, there needs to be unity between both groups.
  • Dough (03/03/2020, 06:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I just want in on some of that oil money... or in on someone who has it lol
  • George Town (03/03/2020, 12:39) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well mai boi, BVI people telling Guyana how to run its country. What ah ting. Come to Guyana and we will embrace you. Guyanese are loving people. Seriously though Guyana needs to take heed and ensure that it maximize and optimize the oil find to improve the standard of living and quality of life of its people. Develop the country so that Guyanese will want to race home, sweet home.
  • Way Home (03/03/2020, 17:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Guyanese come home. Soon Guyana will be the richest country in world. Guyana is underpopulated with approx 11 people per square mile and will need lots of skills in the near and longterm. This is the windfall that it was searching and hoping for.

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