Feb 08, 2018 News
…Uninvited presidential advisor sees need for civil society conference
The stage was set for President David Granger to deliver the opening keynote address at yesterday’s inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit & Exhibition (GIPEX) at the Guyana Marriot Hotel in Georgetown.
The three-day event was advertised to feature 55 national and international exhibitors and more than 400 delegates and a few hundred foreign dignitaries.
During the course of the opening session, delegates learned that the President would not be delivering the keynote address to the Summit. Instead, the address was delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who is performing the duties of Prime Minister.
The move left some attendees baffled as to why the President, if invited, missed an opportunity to deliver the keynote address on Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector.
Ministry of the Presidency spokesman, Mark Archer, told Kaieteur News that there was a clash of two very important events and the President asked the Acting Prime Minister to stand in. Archer did not provide information on what the other important event was that kept the president away from delivering the keynote address at the Summit.
Dr. Jan Mangal, Petroleum Advisor to President Granger stated that he was not invited to the conference.
Simultaneous with the summit, Dr. Mangal delivered an address at the University of Guyana’s discussion on the ‘Government of Guyana’s vision for the oil and gas sector’.
During his presentation, Dr. Mangal lamented the need for more support for civil society.
“I was looking at the conference that is going on now; I was thinking how about a civil society conference?” Dr. Mangal questioned.
“How about holding a conference just for civil society just around oil and gas so that all the issues that civil society is dealing with including the social issues, educational, TIGI (Transparency International Guyana Inc.) and indigenous groups. You get groups from outside who have gone through the same experience before so people can engage and start talking. There needs to be help from outside for civil society,” the presidential advisor on petroleum noted.
The summit is being hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Apart from Minister Greenidge’s participation, the Alliance for Change (AFC) Ministers in the Coalition Government participated as scheduled.
They included Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources; Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications; and David Patterson, Minister of Public Infrastructure.
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