The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has no difficulty sharing with its citizenry, information or data on oil and gas. This was recently revealed by the CARICOM nation’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley.
He expressed such sentiments while delivering a feature address at a recent Spotlight on Energy forum that was held in Port of Spain. There, Rowley said that that the business of government in Trinidad and Tobago is not a secret “as we have nothing to hide,” hence several officials had no problem providing the citizenry with the same data that was shown to the Cabinet.
As he emphasized the need for transparency, Dr. Rowley, a seasoned geologist said, “We have nothing to hide and everything to protect.”
The Spotlight on Energy conference allowed Trinidadians to have access to reports on the nation’s reserves, a gas master plan, along with other crucial data and relevant explanations. The conference also provided details on the government’s view on the industry, how companies have been paying over the years, and the billions of dollars in taxes that are slipping through the government’s fingers.
In the case of Guyana, the Government has not been forthcoming about information it is receiving in the oil and gas industry. It has even refused to provide the names of the negotiators that represented Guyana during the signing of the ExxonMobil contract. It has not budged on the release of the Bridging Deed; the purpose of which was to replace the 1999 Agreement and the 1999 Petroleum Prospecting Licence.
And the nation is yet to know the names of the 309 companies ExxonMobil claimed it utilized last year for the provision of goods and services. All of this and more has led many local critics to wonder if the government has something to hide.
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