Jun 10, 2019 News
When it comes to the suspicious award of two key oil blocks offshore Guyana to three industry unknowns, transparency advocates have thrown the burden of blame onto the shoulders of former President Donald Ramotar.
But the former Head of State is now saying that he acted on the advice and appeals of former Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud. Ramotar says it is he who must answer all the burning questions on the issue.
Yesterday afternoon, Persaud took to his Facebook Page and provided a statement on the matter. But his explanation had no answer for one of the many crucial questions on the minds of local critics—why were Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas Inc, Ratio Energy and Ratio Guyana, companies which never existed before March 2013, granted rights to explore two blocks, the Kaieteur and Canje , which are located in very deep waters?
Persaud did not even mention what criteria were used to assess that these companies were quite capable of being awarded the licences to explore.
What Persaud did say in his statement, however, is that he would not be dragged into an election propaganda campaign. The former Minister said he has not been contacted by the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) or any other entity regarding the issue.
It should be noted, however, that SARA has made it clear that until it has “all the ducks in a row” then it would proceed with calling persons in for questioning.
Persaud said that he does support any independent, non-partisan review of the previous and current governments’ award of petroleum exploration licenses in Guyana’s offshore.
The former Minister said, “We have nothing to hide and I do concur with former President Donald Ramotar, who as the then Minister with responsibility for Petroleum, earlier commented on this matter (saying): ‘Any unbiased, professional independent review will once more confirm all due legal processes were followed and during the PPP/C time in office the country’s best interest was served, given the realities of the day.”
From the time of the current government’s assumption of office, Persaud said he has always made himself available for clarification and/or elaboration on policy decisions and actions taken in relation to his ministerial portfolios.
Further, Persaud said he has been in contact from time to time with head of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe.
“However, I will not be dragged into what is patently an elections propaganda campaign issue by a politically-controlled state agency and being promoted by sections of the media and so-called oil and gas ‘experts’ and ‘advisors’.”
The former Minister added, “The PPP/C’s achievements and unwavering determination in laying the foundations for Guyana to be an oil producing nation has been both stellar and transparent as well as in full conformity with all relevant laws and regulations.”
He also cautioned against reckless and presumptive statements by vested interests as these can further undermine investors’ confidence and even encroach on sanctity of contracts and agreements with local and foreign investors.
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