Chartered Accountant, Nigel Hinds, is one of the few Guyanese who have not given up on the prospect of the nation securing a better contract with oil giant, ExxonMobil.
The recent utterances of the Trinidadian Prime Minister, Keith Rowley to the effect that no contract is set in stone and should always benefit both parties, is something with which Hinds “absolutely agrees”.
Asked to share how his country is going about the renegotiation of oil contracts and how Guyana might learn from this, the TT Prime Minister said that while he would not want to give “public advice” to his colleague, President David Granger, it is a fact that Trinidad has been in the oil business for ages. He said that much of what Trinidad has engaged in is what Guyana will soon have to do.
”But whatever our experience has been, it would do Guyana well to know what that experience is, even if it is not taken as advice,” the Prime Minister said.
Dr. Rowley said, “We have respected the sanctity of contracts while not accepting that contracts are set in stone. Contracts are engagements made between two parties and when you make contracts, if there is goodwill between the participants, and if the intention is for both participants to benefit from the nature of the contract, we see the possibility and the opportunity for the contracts being revisited so as to maintain the balance of the elements of the contract.”
The TT Prime Minister said that this is the basis on which his government has approached oil companies in its borders on the renegotiating of contracts. As I speak to you now, we are at the negotiation table, having got their acknowledgement that the contract could be looked at.
“Of course, both sides (are) seeking to maintain the balance that the contracts ought to have and we do this by renegotiations.”
Dr. Rowley said, too, “I wouldn’t attempt to criticize what kind of contracts you might have entered into, but contracts reflect time, place and circumstances. What I would say to Guyana is to understand where you are at, and the time and place.
“Understand that you have a friend in Trinidad and Tobago which has years of experience in (the industry) which may be of benefit to you. We have people and companies which have been doing this for a number of years.”
Dr. Rowley said he can only see benefits for both countries if there is collaboration in the industry.”
Yesterday, Hinds recalled that at the press conference where Rowley made the remarks, Guyana’s Foreign affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge “who is a staunch and frequent defender of the atrocious 2016 Production Share and Agreement (PSA), between the Government of Guyana and partners: Esson, Hess & Nexen; was photographed at the press conference looking aghast, adrift and wanting to be anywhere else; not surprisingly.”
Hinds said that it is time local politicians, on both sides of the divide, get their act together and do what is best for the nation as a whole.
He said, “It is time they take a page out of Prime Minister Rowley’s book.”
Hinds lamented that the “lopsided” contract cannot be seen as a ticket to prosperity for Guyana. He recalled that the two percent royalty to be paid is a disgrace. Pre-contract cost, the stability clause, the lack of ring-fencing, the unlimited concessions are all things that need to be addressed.
“President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo; we implore you to show solidarity and dismantle this 2016 Production Sharing Agreement – that does not share with Guyana, beyond relative morsels; we must renegotiate this cockroach contract.”
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