We welcome United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, to Guyana. We thank him for his role in ensuring that the democratic will of the people was respected in relation to the elections of 2nd March, 2020.
America stands for democracy and America stood by Guyana during the attempt to steal the elections and revert Guyana to a state of political dictatorship. For this, we are grateful!
America also stands for transparency and accountability in government. American companies should not be doing business in a country where deals are being kept secret. American companies should not be involved in investing in oil blocks, the owners of which are concealed from the public.
We are concerned about reports that an American company ExxonMobil has bought-in to oil blocks owned by persons, the bona fides of whom are not known but who are believed to be part of secret arrangements involving local politicians.
The public knows that ExxonMobil is the owner of the Stabroek Block consisting of 6.6 million acres. But there is haziness over the awardees of the Canje and Kaieteur blocks, which, combined, consist of 4.8 million acres, ExxonMobil had bought-in to portions of these blocks.
Global Witness reported that it had interviewed the former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, under whose tenure the Canje and Kaieteur blocks were given out. He is reported to have told them that he “did not know who the beneficial owners are” and that it was not necessary for him, as a minister, to know. He did, however, say he knew some of the people who had signed documents for the companies.
The Guyanese public is entitled to know the owners of the Canje and Stabroek blocks. A feature of democratic governance is transparency, something that is sadly lacking in Guyana.
As we welcome Mike Pompeo to Guyana, a country which is being touted as a potential investment hotspot in the western hemisphere, we remind him of the need to impress upon Guyana’s leaders, the need for transparency when dealing with the country’s resources.
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