– commends media for highlighting oil contracts signed by past and present Govts.
Trade Unionist, Lincoln Lewis has acknowledged that the contract that Guyana has with CGX bears a sticking resemblance to the contract the nation has with ExxonMobil.
Lewis noted that two different governments signed those agreements. He said they all must take responsibility.
Lewis expressed his concerns and made his views known in a letter to the media.
He said that the media needs to be commended for its continuous effort in highlighting the truth as it relates to the contracts signed by Governments of Guyana with the oil companies.
Lewis noted that members of civil society, “like Christopher Ram and Ramon “Rambo” Gaskin, have communicated to us their interest in taking a laser beam on this matter as they dissect ExxonMobil contract and offer their opinions on whether Guyana is getting the best deal or not. As regards to the politicians the public debates between the two sides and the evidence unfolding bring into question what their real motives are.”
“The PPP/C Opposition decries the APNU+AFC Executive for the agreement it signed on behalf of the people of Guyana with ExxonMobil. Today the media is bringing to the public attention the similarities in the agreement signed by PPP/C Government with CGX and the APNU+AFC Government with ExxonMobil.”
Lewis said that the nation should remember that CARIFORUM negotiated an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU). “Subsequent to this CARICOM commenced engagement to seal an agreement with Canada on an economic partnership. The Canadian Government used the CARIFORUM/EU Agreement as the template in engaging CARICOM.”
Lewis said that the negotiation of the first agreement sets the foundation for any that come thereafter.
He then noted that there is a principle in negotiation that it is wise to seek to avoid “starting wrong because you will end wrong. In the case of the oil and gas agreements the first agreement will set the tone for others coming thereafter. While one is not aware whether the CGX can be considered the first, what is being gleaned is that it was used as the template in negotiating with Exxon.”
The trade unionist said that political leaders, on both sides, need to take responsibility for the current agreements. He added, “There exists a political culture where the politicians believe they are the beginning and end of every idea, they know everything, even though they continue to prove everyday their deficiencies in such regards.”
Lewis said that the conundrum with the oil and gas agreements brings home two critical points. One being that Guyanese should not accept the notion that when all the politicians and political parties are sitting in the Executive “under some so-called ‘national unity government’ Guyana and the masses’ interest will be put first. Two, the arrogance in continuing to disregard Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution that mandates inclusionary democracy means that this nation is being deprived of input from diverse groups, talents and skills in the management and decision-making processes of the State.”
Lewis noted that oil and gas industry will significantly alter Guyana’s social, cultural, economic and political landscape “and where this continues to be ignored we will all catch hell. Current revelations are bringing forcefully home the point of the importance of taking a nationalistic/inclusionary approach as against hugging issues of national import within one group at the exclusion of others. Serious efforts must therefore be made to demand that the politicians act consistent with Article 13, and we must require this not after the fact but before and throughout.”
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