Matters that could determine Guyana’s future as an oil producing country deserve the attention of the country’s Chief Executive—President David Granger. At the very least, the President should have read the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that his government signed with ExxonMobil.
This would have put him a better position to lead and to make key decisions that will determine if Guyana will become prosperous or remain poor, said Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during his press conference, yesterday.
Jagdeo said that the fact that President David Granger is still to read the ExxonMobil/Guyana contract is telling. He said, too, that this makes him worry that “our interests are not being represented.”
The former President said that Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, recently pointed out “something that may be true but is also worrying.” This was at an event held last Sunday at which both Jagdeo and Gaskin were present.
Jagdeo told the media, “(Gaskin) said that a lot of people are criticizing the contract but haven’t read the contract. And I was tempted to shout out that the President has not read the contract because he said at his press conference that he will get a briefing next month.”
Jagdeo said that it is unfortunate that Gaskin is “criticizing ordinary Guyanese for not reading the contract. But, the Chief Executive of our country said he has not read it and he will get a briefing next month. That in itself speaks a lot for me; there is no way any PPP (People’s Progressive Party)
President would not read a contract like that before it was signed.”
Jagdeo acknowledged that there was a time when Guyana was not an attractive domain for oil exploration.
He said that during that era, “we were just begging people so it was just practical to get some of them to come to invest.”
However, he said that it became inexcusable for the Government to take the nonchalant approach it did even after the lucrative discovery that ExxonMobil made in 2015.
Jagdeo said that he asked President David Granger, “Did you have a negotiating brief come to the Cabinet?”
Jagdeo did not disclose what the President’s response was.
But, he continued saying that when the President and Ministers make certain statements that “leave all of us worried that our interests, as Guyanese, are not being looked at. When our Chief Executive says something like that. “
He said that the President should have made it his duty to be well informed about the contract since “One little adjustment in the contract could result in billions of dollars flowing to Guyana in the future.”
Just last week, Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-law, Christopher Ram suggested that President Granger should get a lawyer to read the contract for him so that he can avoid making embarrassing mistakes when he speaks.
Ram’s statement was motivated by the fact that the President said that Guyana will determine the pace at which ExxonMobil develop oil fields in the Stabroek Block. According to the contract, the Government does not have that Authority. (Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell)
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