Transforming Guyana: Season II, Episode XI, Community Engagement in the Era of Oil & Gas

The Guyana Business Journal (GBJ) & Caribbean Policy Consortium welcome you to Season II, Episode X of their Transforming Guyana Series, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at 10:30 AM EST.

Media Advisory


Guyana Business Journal Webinar Highlights the Role of Education and Community Engagement in the Oil & Gas Era

April 11, 2024—The Caribbean Policy Consortium and Guyana Business Journal’s latest webinar, “Transforming Guyana: Season II, Episode XI, Community Engagement in the Era of Oil & Gas,” aired on April 10. It brought together influential voices to discuss the pivotal role of education and community engagement in Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas sector.

Riyad Insanally, the former Ambassador of Guyana to the U.S., emphasized the foundational importance of literacy for STEM development. “The future of Guyana is in the hands of our young people,” Insanally stated, underscoring the need for basic skills as a prerequisite for higher-level skill development and the economic participation of the youth in Guyana’s future.

Karen Abrams, founder of STEMGuyana, highlighted the critical need for early exposure to STEM concepts to build a robust educational pipeline. “We are a developing nation with massive infrastructure imperatives,” Abrams remarked, pointing out the necessity for young talent in driving innovation and diversifying the economy beyond the oil sector.

Terrence Blackman, founder of the Guyana Business Journal, addressed the human capital requirements for engaging with the oil and gas discoveries. “Technology skills must be at the cutting edge,” Blackman noted, advocating for community engagement to strengthen societal relationships, build trust, and promote resilience.

The webinar underscored the transformative power of education and the need for a diverse, skilled workforce to navigate the challenges and opportunities the oil and gas industry presents. The speakers collectively called for a focus on the basics of education, the involvement of youth in STEM, and the broadening of economic benefits to all sectors of society.

For further information and to watch the webinar, please visit Guyana Business Journal or Caribbean Policy Consortium.


Terrence Blackman, Ph.D., Founder & CEO Guyana Business Journal

Dr. David E. Lewis, Fellow and Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium


  • Karen Abrams, Founder, STEMGuyana
  • Riyad Insanally, Former Ambassador of Guyana to the U.S.
  • Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal

Riyad Insanally, Former Ambassador of Guyana to the U.S.

  • “If you can’t read and write, there can be no STEM development. We’re looking at the imperative of training and upscaling our young people, even while we look at older generations. The future of Guyana, and this is not a cliché, is in the hands of our young people.”
  • “As Guyanese we are all aware of the transformative power of education, but there are challenges. There’s no point in talking about developing skills at the high level if those basic skills are lacking.”
  • “If we’re going to talk about the transformative period in the development of our country, then we’ve got to go back to the transformative power of education and go back to basics.”
  • “Without STEM, there will be no innovation, no entrepreneurship, no equitable participation in the economic development of Guyana.”

 Karen Abrams, Founder, STEMGuyana

  • “Learning sticks to learning. The earlier you get children exposed to concepts – whether it’s in literacy or numeracy – the easier it is for them to pick up additional context as they move through the educational pipeline.”
  • “We are a developing nation. Not only are we trying to develop the oil economy, we have infrastructure imperatives – road, water, sewage, internet…We need talent in order to conduct this massive infrastructure development that has to happen here in Guyana.”
  • “It is important for us to have young people in these roles so we can strengthen our economy and diversify it. You don’t do innovation without young people who are involved in STEM.”
  • “We have to find a way to ensure that those who are not directly in the oil and gas sector can also benefit from decent wages. It’s an issue that needs really key attention, and it shouldn’t be politicized. It’s almost like a human dignity issue.”

 Terrence Blackman, Host and Founder, Guyana Business Journal

  • “For us to be engaged in oil and gas discovery, there are people skills that have to be in place. Technology skills have to be in place at the cutting edge to be able to responsibly, safely deliver these oil and gas resources to Guyana.”
  • “This discovery of hydrocarbons has really opened up opportunity for the possibility of Guyana being a major oil and gas producer globally. It has boosted our economic development from that of one of the poorest countries in the Americas.”
  • “The question of the resource curse is one which is real, and we have to think about how we deal with the broad diversification of our economy in a way that allows us to manage the shocks that come from this increasing outside pull that oil has.”
  • “When we think about community engagement, we’re thinking about a collaborative process of working through groups of people for mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. The key objective here is strengthening relationships across the society, building trust across the society, promoting really sincere collaboration, increasing collective self-efficacy and resilience, and addressing the wellbeing of our people.”
  • “It’s key for us to understand that the vast majority of Guyanese are not small businesses that can participate in the value chain, so people sitting in the service sector and public sector have to be thinking about how we can broaden the benefits of this resource.”