There is need for Government to make public the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will be signed next week with Trinidad and Tobago for a partnership on oil and gas.
This was the view shared by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo when he was questioned on Thursday about the concerns expressed locally, by the private sector, over the nondisclosure of the MoU.
“I do not have a problem as a person who is a strong advocate for CARICOM (Caribbean Community) unity and us working together and enjoying shared prosperity by linking our fortunes. I don’t have a problem with that. I support that rhetoric about us doing more things together,” Jagdeo stated.
He added, “When I hear people talk about sharing our prosperity now; those kinds of statements… and we don’t see the MoU, the framework through which that will happen, they [Guyanese] somehow believe that they are going to be excluded from the opportunities.”
Jagdeo noted that Guyanese should be the primary beneficiaries of the development of the oil and gas sector, but Guyana also has some obligations as a member of CARICOM. Additionally, he explained that Guyana also has shared history and culture with migration occurring.
However, he acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago has expertise in the oil and gas sector, but due to Guyana’s experience with the secrecy in the negotiations of the agreement with ExxonMobil and the ensuing results, suspicions as a country are aroused.
“I believe that this MoU should be made public. I believe that we should work with Trinidad and Tobago.
They have some expertise, but I believe that there must be a situation where limited opportunities are going to come on shore, the hog share of those opportunities must go to Guyanese,” Jagdeo stated.
He noted that the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley himself pointed out how limited the opportunities are in Guyana, which is unlike Trinidad’s case where the oil comes on shore.
“In Guyana’s case, the oil will be pumped from the platform, straight into the vessel and leave, so you don’t have backward integration into the economy,” Jagdeo stated.
He said that while Guyana has regional obligations to reach out to other CARICOM countries, it must be of mutual benefit.
“There has to be reciprocity,” Jagdeo emphasised.
He further shared that he could point to 15 examples where phytosanitary restrictions were used to harm Guyanese products going to many CARICOM countries.
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