– at High-Level CaucusPresident David Granger says while many people are dazzled by the prospects of petroleum wealth, there is need for greater understanding and education on how the sector operates.He made it clear that even as the sector was about to take off, his Government would not veer from the ‘green’ development trajectory nor would it stray from delivering on pre-petroleum promises such as removal of the development disparity between the coast and the hinterland, creating an ‘education nation’ andPresident David Granger speaking at the foruma more cohesive Guyana, and empowering people, all of which will translate to a ‘good life’.Speaking at the High-Level Caucus on Oil Sector Strategy on Wednesday, which was organised by the Natural Resources Ministry, the Head of State said, “We need to educate ourselves as a Cabinet, as a Government and as a population as a whole. We have to take a sober approach to the exploitation of this valuable resource. We need to create the organisation, the structure that will manage this resource and even now, as I speak, we are in a state of transition. When the Government came into office in May 2015, it was literally at the same time, almost at the same date, that the announcement of the petroleum find was made. So, we are still putting in place an organisation that is capable of managing this resource and that is one of the reasons why we need this type of advice.”The core objectives of the forum, which was held at the Baridi Benab at State House, were to build awareness on key issues relating to the oil sector; frame the country’s strategic choices to each of the key issues; to align those choices and to provide a blueprint for a sector roadmap. It brought together a mix of international and local experts on natural resources, governance, fiscal policies, finance and economic development.During the deliberations, there were recurring themes such as economic diversification, education, technology and infrastructural development, all of which were identified as priority areas to be pursued in order to transform the country’s socio-economic landscape. President Granger pointed to the need for legislation and strong oversight institutions to protect citizens from the adverse aspects that could flow from the exploitation of this resource.“We need to mobilise, not only national will but national resources. This is going to be the single largest industry in Guyana. As a country of just about three quarters of a million people, we need to ensure that our resources are mobilised, so that every Guyanese understands the importance of petroleum… We have to protect the rights of investors by establishing the institutions to ensure that there is no abuse or misuse of this resource. Without the institutions, without the judiciary, without the oversight by the National Assembly and without prudent management by the Executive, much of what we are attempting to do will fail,” he said.Meanwhile, Legal Adviser on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Sir Shridath Ramphal reminded the Caucus of the ongoing controversy and the hurdle that the country still has to overcome. “We must not proceed as if that challenge does not exist. At the outset, we cannot afford the luxury of running ahead of ourselves,” he said.Sir Shridath also commended the Government of Guyana’s efforts which resulted in this matter being referred to the International Court of Justice. “What is at stake is two-thirds of the country and if Venezuela had its way, almost all of our maritime space… It is a colossal step forward that Guyana has gotten to Geneva. We sought a judicial settlement for over 50 years and it is finally in hand,” he said.One of the main presenters, Sir Paul Collier, a Professor at Blavatnik School of Public Policy at the University of Oxford, urged the Government to focus on proper policy choices and decisive national leadership. He also spoke of the importance of transforming oil revenues into assets, noting that the oil resource presented numerous opportunities, but the Government must develop a sound strategy to transform those opportunities into tangible benefits for the Guyanese population.Other presenters at the forum included former United States Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy; Dr Valerie Marcel, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House; former Manager of the Chilean Sovereign Wealth Fund, Eric Parrado; Peter Harrington, a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor Paloma Mohamed from the University of Guyana.