Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has repeatedly chided the Government for the bad deal it signed with ExxonMobil and its partners, CNOOC and Hess, for their Stabroek Block operations.
Public discourse about the contract’s provisions has been reignited by the Global Witness report, and the Opposition Leader has capitalised on the anti-corruption watchdog’s criticisms of Government and the deal.
On the 93rd birth anniversary of the late President Forbes Burnham, Jagdeo yesterday told reporters that Burnham would be turning over in his grave with the knowledge of how lopsided the controversial deal is.
For all of his repeated condemnation of the government’s negotiations and the contract, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) general secretary would not commit to fixing it if the major party wins the March 2 general election.
Previously, when asked about renegotiating it, Jagdeo had said that it is important to respect the sanctity of contracts, though he has accepted that it is lopsided. Yet, he later committed to renegotiating every other current oil contract. His justification for planning to renegotiate those is that the circumstances have changed over the years, including Guyana’s negotiating power.
The Opposition Leader has also said that his reason for wanting the contract to remain that way is that ExxonMobil made – in the words of presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali – a pioneering investment; that ExxonMobil should be rewarded with frontier terms.
This newspaper pointed out that such a reason may indicate contentment with the contract’s fiscal terms.
But Jagdeo assured that his position is much more nuanced.
“We will be the next government… we have to have a nuanced approach.”
For him, a solution to the lopsided deal does not have to be renegotiation.
“There has to be changes, and we believe we can get these changes one way or another.”
He has posited better contract administration as a substitute, and better local content administration.
“We believe that we can get hundreds of millions of US dollars more in benefits to Guyanese, and thousands of jobs benefitting our people.”
He said that it should be noted that the governing coalition has not even come to accept the unfair nature of the deal.
“The other side says it’s perfect… We are the only party that offers the possibility of Guyana getting more from this sector.”
But he continued that his position on the agreement should not be reduced to a populist form, because that could be misleading.
“Every week, Kaieteur and the others, they’re trying to get us to commit to a position that is not nuanced.”
Kaieteur News has made known a principled position it took that the contract is unfair and must be renegotiated.
“I don’t do things for populism,” Jagdeo said.
“We have too many populists in this country. We have to do things that work and that are real.”
Apr 06, 2020By Zaheer Mohamed Port Kaituma Football Foundation (PKFF) is one of the leading sports organisations in Region One. The body was formed in 2009 with the aim of developing sports in the area. Its...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]