Guyana: Elections and the Imperatives of Geopolitical Neighborhoods – By Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith

  — By Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith 

I. INTRODUCTION

Dr. Ivelaw Griffith

This year electoral winds will blow across eight national landscapes in Latin America and the Caribbean—Belize, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Voters there will determine whether we will witness cool winds of continuity or tempestuous cyclones of change. But irrespective of the national circumstances, serious contenders do not have the luxury of focusing only on the run up to the elections; they also need to consider possible electoral outcomes and life after victory.

II. BIG OIL

This surely is the case in Guyana, which had early voting by the army and the police on February 21, and which will have the most consequential elections of the eight countries, largely because of the massive offshore oil and gas find there.       

The discovery of some 8 billion barrels of oil will witness economic growth of a whopping 86 percent this year alone according to the International Monetary Fund. Last year’s figure was 4.7 percent. Last December, Anthony Bryan, an energy expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cited estimates that placed revenue over the lifetime of the projects at US$117 billion.2 However, that was before the January 27, 2020 announcement by ExxonMobil of its 16th deep water discovery since oil was first struck in May
2015. Now the lifetime estimates are projected at US$168 billion.

READ MORE: Guyana’s Elections and Geopolitical Neighborhoods – Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith -February 23, 2020

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February 23, 2020
Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith is non-resident Senior Associate in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Delaware. A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, he’s an expert on Caribbean security who has testified before the United States Congress on Caribbean security matters. He’s currently finalizing Challenged Sovereignty: The Impact of Drugs, Crime, Terrorism and Cyber Challenges on Security and Sovereignty in the Caribbean for the University of Illinois Press.

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