12
Jan
2020

Govt bows to PPP pressure

first_img…releases names of ExxonMobil sub-contractorsAfter intense pressure from the parliamentary Opposition – People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – and its leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, to release the names of ExxonMobil’s sub-contractors, Government on Tuesday decided to issue the full list through the Department of Public Information (DPI), naming the local companies that the oil giant has utilised or done business with.According to the report, some 227 Guyanese-owned companies have been benefiting from ExxonMobil’s operation here. These companies have been providing a wide range of products and services. Some of the services provided included, but were not limited to, transportation and accommodation, among others.The Government also noted that in addition, there are 27 Caribbean Community-owned companies; 15 of which are registered in Guyana and are also engaged in providing services to ExxonMobil. Another 42 foreign-owned companies – 20 of which are registered in Guyana, also do business with ExxonMobil.PPP pressureJagdeo on Monday had referenced the reluctance of the ruling Administration to come clean, given that ExxonMobil had given the Government information on the company’s local content commitments. He said now that it is known that Government has the names of these local companies Exxon used, they should disclose it in its entirety.The Opposition Leader had also reiterated his call for the Government to release the list of 309 local companies used by ExxonMobil in 2017, as well as the 227 used during the first quarter of 2018.Meanwhile, in noting the release of the list, the Opposition PPP said in a statement on Tuesday evening that while Trotman and his colleague Ministers may actually believe that they are keeping Guyanese updated and aware of developments in the sector, this may not be so.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThe PPP pointed to the incident where calls for the release of the ExxonMobil contract were met with several excuses – first Guyanese were told about “national security considerations” and then that the former PPP Government changed the law to prevent disclosure.“These were exposed as lies and public pressure saw the release of the contract, finally,” the Opposition said while noting that they have also sought to hide their perceived “underhand dealings” with the remaining oil blocks, when they claimed there was “nothing left” because Jagdeo gave them out.The Opposition also stated that despite the fact that there are several remaining oil blocks, Guyanese are none the wiser about how these will be treated. “Why has Government failed to pay attention to its own advisor, after he recommended that the remaining oil blocks be auctioned off?” the Party questioned.Further, the PPP said on the issue of a signing bonus, the Government claimed that it never requested, nor received a signing bonus. They recalled this too was the lie told to Guyanese people for over a year. This lie was eventually exposed and only then did the Government admit that it received a US$18 million signing bonus, which it hid in an account outside of the Consolidated Fund, they added.|National Resources Minster Raphael TrotmanSWFAnother point raised by the Opposition is the fact that for three years, Guyanese were told about legislation coming to the National Assembly that included the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). This was supposed to come before the end of 2016, but it is now 2018 and it is still nowhere closer to finishing.The Party said the same goes for the promised Local Content Policy, but the shift of responsibility for this from one Minister’s desk to another, has been noted by the Opposition.“What is happening now is that Government is name-dropping titles of international agencies to somehow lend believability to the notion that they are addressing the matter diligently. Guyanese are still unaware about what the final drafts of these documents will look like and when they will be ready.”The PPP did not stop there. In fact, they also reminded that Guyanese were told that the oil and gas sector will be treated in an apolitical manner, but were met with a Petroleum Commission Bill, which vests obscene levels of control in the hands of the Minster responsible for oil.“The Bill allows the Minister to become the Board where he does not appoint one and perform the functions of the CEO if one is not appointed. The Bill also states that the Minister can give direction to the Commission regarding, size of the establishment, the employment of staff and the terms and conditions of employment, the disposal of capital assets; the application of the proceeds of such disposals.”References were also made the promises of building a US$500 million onshore supply base that was supposed to be erected at Crab Island, in the Berbice River, in 2017. Additionally, the Opposition said Government has not named the village earmarked for the gas project as though it is a State secret.last_img

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