Oct 20, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – It has been over two weeks since Kaieteur News began chronicling a shocking exposé of the shoddy Kaieteur and Canje Oil Blocks deal that was approved by former President Donald Ramotar. This publication showed, among other things, how these prime assets were given away to industry unknowns.
Despite such shocking revelations being put into the public domain, leader of the APNU+AFC Opposition, Joseph Harmon, yesterday declared that the coalition is “awaiting more information” before any action is taken in the National Assembly to hold those responsible parties accountable.
His answer was in response to a question on the Opposition’s silence since the KN exposé started.
According to Harmon, such a conclusion about the posture of the political opposition may not be “accurate” since the information being revealed to the public by this newspaper “was more than what we in the Opposition would have had.”
“I think at this time, you have or you seem to have at least access to this information and certainly we are following it up very closely and I would not be able to say beyond what it is we will do. But certainly, once that information reaches a certain level, we will have to ask certain questions of the Government because they are the ones who are in power and they are the ones who will have to say what it is that is being done about these activities,” Harmon told media operatives.
During the past two weeks, Kaieteur News’ reporters repeatedly posed questions to the Opposition leader in hopes of getting clear cut answers on how these sweetheart deals were awarded. Those efforts proved futile.
In a previous engagement with this newspaper, Harmon was asked to reveal the identities of all the beneficial owners of the blocks. He was quick to note that this information would be revealed at a later date, during an oil-specific press conference.
It should be noted that the information being published is contained in the March 4, 2015 contract awarded by the Ramotar administration, weeks leading up to the General and Regional Elections.
That contract would have been passed over into the hands of the incoming APNU+AFC regime of which Harmon sat as the Minister of State and later as Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency. Throughout that period, the Ministry of Natural Resources fell under the Ministry of the Presidency.
Despite it being the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) that signed away the lucrative blocks, industry stakeholders are of the view that the Coalition is just as complicit. In this regard, local commentators have said that the APNU+AFC regime played a key role in approving several transfers of interests for the blocks. There are also concerns that the coalition which established the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), may have stymied the agency’s failure to complete its probe into the oil blocks giveaway.
It should also be noted that the former APNU+AFC regime would not have had to rely on information from outside sources as regards the true owners of the block, since it would have already been in possession of such information while in Government.
This is because, every time stakes in the two blocks were transferred or sold to other parties, the government is responsible for approving same. In this regard, when signing deals, the government has to know the hands the stakes are leaving, and the hands to which they will go.
The Kaieteur Block was originally owned jointly by Ratio Energy Limited and Ratio Guyana now known as Cataleya Energy Limited. Exxon Mobil then farmed in and later sold participating shares to Hess Corporations.
The Canje Block was originally owned by Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas Inc. Mid Atlantic later sold shares to JHI Associates Inc. Exxon Mobil and the French petroleum company, Total, later farmed in.
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