(Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell)
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has sought to completely disassociate himself and party from the major ills of the existing Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) between Guyana and ExxonMobil.
At his press conference, yesterday, Jagdeo said that he has been doing some ground work and many people have been blazing him for the inadequacies of the contract. He said that he has been trying to tell them that he is not responsible for that.
Jagdeo said that he has been made aware that many people read the Kaieteur News satirical piece “Dem Boys Seh”. He said that he is worried that the piece has been taking a soft approach to the APNU+AFC Government.
“Today it was brought to my attention that they stitch in little lines. They spoke about Granger releasing the contract for ExxonMobil.”
Jagdeo said that it was not stated that President David Granger has to be “beaten over a year and a half before he could have released the contract.”
Jagdeo noted that Granger hid the signing bonus.
He said that the contract was only released after the signing bonus became known.
“He did not release it in a benign sort of way. He was forced after it was revealed that there was a bonus. It was a struggle by local civil society, the opposition and international organizations.”
Another problem he had was when the contract was described in the satirical piece as an upgrade to the 1999 agreement.
Jagdeo said, “It was not an upgrade, it was a downgrade; this is very misleading because I went to Tiger Bay a few months ago and a guy said to me he is a fan of Dem Boys Seh and that the PPP sign the contract recently. I had to point out to him that the PPP left office in 2015.”
Jagdeo said that PPP had nothing to do with the added features of the new contract.
Jagdeo was keen to note, “A lot of the features that the media and everybody else have been so critical about were not in the 1999 agreement.”
Jagdeo pointed to the pre-contract cost which now stands at US$900M. This money has to be repaid by Guyana to ExxonMobil.
Also, Jagdeo noted that the Stability Clause—which has been described by the likes of Attorney at Law, Christopher Ram as the strangulation clause—was also not a part of the 1999 agreement. That clause tries Guyana down to all the lopsided provisions of the contract.
It bars ExxonMobil from ever having to pay increased taxes. Because of that clause, no future law of Guyana, that could affect ExxonMobil’s take, will be observed by the company.
Further, Jagdeo noted, “The issue with gas and limiting the obligation to bring onshore only for domestic demand was not part of the 1999 contract…so it was a tremendous downgrade, not upgrade.”
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