By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
President David Granger had promised that he will reengage his former advisor, Dr. Jan Mangal, this month. But plans have changed. According to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, it is now up to Dr. Mark Bynoe, the newly appointed Head of the Department of Energy, to decide whether or not Dr. Mangal’s skills are required.
Dr. Mangal, probably one of the few Guyanese with vast experience in oil and gas industry, served President Granger for two years. But his contract came to an end earlier this year and it has not been renewed.
Dr. Mangal had told this newspaper that President Granger assured him that government would have reengaged him this month.
However, yesterday, as he hosted the post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon said that it is solely up to the Department of Energy to decide if Mangal will be rehired.
He said, “That will be a decision to be made by the Department of Energy when they are looking at the skills that they need for the department. If there is a skill he possesses and they find that that is the best possible skill then it is up to the department to decide whether we need his services.”
If rehired, Mangal will have to work under Dr. Bynoe who has been criticized for heading the all too important department without any experience in oil and gas.
Harmon said, “Dr. Bynoe is an excellent choice who comes with excellent credentials. Apart from his stated qualification and work done on climate change and environment, he has wide experiences.”
Harmon said that Dr. Bynoe will now hire the help he needs. “Dr. Bynoe does not need to be a world class expert but he is going to head a team that will identify the specific skills that we need for that department…It is not like we have a totally new kid on the block that is jumping off into nothingness; we have a structure.”
When the appointment was made, Dr. Mangal said on this Facebook page, “The Head of the new Department of Energy, per the plan from March, was to be someone with international gravitas, someone who could challenge the likes of Rex Tillerson for example, who was comfortable talking O&G with Ministers from the major producing countries and the top executives from the major oil companies.
Some of the qualifications were:
– High level ministerial experience in natural resources.
– Executive level experience with a major Oil & Gas company (such as Shell, Exxon, Chevron, BP, etc).
Hence, the candidates were to be former Ministers or Vice-Ministers from major oil producing countries who also spent time in industry at the executive level.”
Dr. Mangal said that the objective was to hire the best from around the world, and the intention was to advertise transparently in top international magazines (such as the Economist).
He said, “It is unlikely any Guyanese would have fit the criteria, but that was accepted back in March. The new Department of Energy is the last chance Guyana has to make this oil business benefit the people of Guyana.
The relevant Ministry forfeited three years and almost every decision taken by the Ministry favoured the oil company instead of favouring the people of Guyana. The new Department of Energy was meant to remedy the situation, but it is baffling why the appointment of the first and top position did not follow the plan from March.”
Yesterday, Dr. Mangal was contacted. This newspaper questioned whether he would be willing to work within the Department of Energy given the concern he and other like Christopher Ram have about Dr. Bynoe’s appointment.
Dr. Mangal said, “As I indicated in one of my letters a while back, I hoped to reengage with the Ministry of the Presidency this month.
The appointment of the Head of the new DoE deviates from the plan I last saw in March, hence the reason for my recent post on Facebook.
“But the MotP may have altered the plan from March. If the current plan still includes the recruitment of O&G professionals, with the skills/qualifications outlined in the plan from March, then I am happy to contribute to the setup of the new DoE.”
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