Greater Guyana Initiative

Safety Culture Advances

-The GGI and the Centre for Local Business Development are improving safety culture in Guyanese businesses

The Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD), through the support of the Greater Guyana Initiative (GGI), plays a leading role in supporting Guyanese companies to better understand and access increasing opportunities in the oil and gas industry, while improving their overall competitiveness. As part of this approach, the Centre provides training in Health, Safety, Security and the Environment (HSSE), a focal point within the petroleum industry.

In December, 45 Guyanese companies graduated from the Centre’s HSSE Management System Mentorship Programme. One hundred companies have completed the six-month programme since it started in 2019, improving their management systems and integrating quality assurance into their supply chains.

Director of the Centre, Dr. Natasha Gaskin-Peters shared that the participants originate from various sectors including construction, logistics, transportation and tourism-based businesses. Congratulating the companies, Dr. Gaskin-Peters noted that 70 of the companies that completed the programme operate in the oil and gas sector.

And despite the challenges of completing such a multi-faceted programme, the Centre’s support was unwavering. “It was never an easy journey and for most of you, you could have walked away; but as we say as a Centre, once you enter into the programme, we’re not going to leave you. So, through your trials, we’ve held your hands, we’ve cried with you, we’ve given you a moment to step back, take some time to sort out those challenges, and then we were back again at you to complete the programme,” Dr. Gaskin-Peters said.

The Centre also conducts follow-up visits to ensure companies are continuously improving and updating their safety management systems. At the graduation, Quality, Health, Safety, Security and Environment Coordinator, Mr. Akil Lewis announced that the Centre has now implemented the re-certification visits. “It’s very important that all companies here revel in the moment, that yes, you would’ve graduated, but we don’t want companies to settle. We want you to continuously improve your safety system. We want you to be constantly reading and advancing as technology advances. So once a year we will be revisiting to re-certify the company,” Mr. Lewis said.

The partnership between the Centre and GGI has been instrumental for every company that has benefited from this mentorship. In sharing her company’s success story, Chief Executive Officer of Chung’s Global, Keisha Chung stated, “All of the team members committed wholeheartedly. Everybody put their shoulders to the wheel to get through that programme. Not just because we wanted to check boxes and we wanted a certificate at the end of the day, but because lives are really at risk,” Ms. Chung said.

“So, when I asked myself the question, ‘What does this programme mean to me?’ This programme means the lives of everyone that we work with. When you join, please do not join to check boxes and receive a certificate,” she urged prospective participants.

These success stories and more have all been possible through the unwavering support of GGI, which is geared towards developing the local workforce, building human capacity, enhancing education, and improving healthcare, with the ultimate objective of promoting sustainable economic diversification in Guyana.

Speaking to the impact of GGI’s support, Dr. Gaskin-Peters said, “This would all not be possible without that investment that they have made in local entities, and so that funding has ensured that the small and medium-sized businesses are a part of our oil and gas sector, that we no longer have a country that is skewed with just large businesses at the top, but we have a country in which small and medium-sized businesses are taking part, and growing.”

The GGI is a US$100 million, 10-year investment made by the Stabroek block co-venturers – ExxonMobil Guyana Limited, Hess Guyana Exploration Limited and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited.