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Guyanese president to deliver inaugural address


Guyanese president to deliver inaugural address

Guayana President
Photo: Adriana Loureiro Fernandez/ New York Times

President of Guyana Dr. Irfaan Ali will today deliver his inaugural address to the Guyanese parliament.

Ali’s speech comes six months after he was sworn into office and almost a year after his victory in the March 2020 general election. Running on an economically focused platform, Ali championed his ability to create 50,000 new jobs while citing stagnant growth and high unemployment under the previous administration.

The discovery of significant oil reserves off the nation’s coast in 2015 led to the Guyanese government signing a business agreement with ExxonMobil, granting the corporation exclusive drilling rights and tax-exempt status. The deal grants 75% of the oil revenue to ExxonMobil for production costs, while the remaining 25% is split evenly with Guyana. Ali has extensively criticised the agreement as unfavorable—it cannot be amended without the consent of ExxonMobil itself—while the drilling zone lies within disputed waters also claimed by Venezuela. Expect Ali to attempt to circumnavigate the contract’s long-term stipulations while aiming to reap the short-term benefits of increased foreign investment in Guyana. Ali is likely to allocate oil revenue towards the public health sector, where Guyana has already begun to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for the general population.

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