Sep 18, 2021 News
…as Govt. delays appointing members to Multi Stakeholder Group
Kaieteur News – Guyana risks losing its membership as part of the International, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), as a result of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic’s (PPP/C) reluctance, to appoint a new Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) whose life expired in March last.
The warning was had yesterday by Alliance for Change (AFC) Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, who during a virtual party press engagement, lamented the state of affairs and reminded that if Guyana did not have in place its MSG by October when the international body meets, Guyana risks losing its status as a member.
According to Ramjattan, the reluctance to appoint the board is also being encouraged by ‘big miners’ who do not want their practices to be exposed to the public, since it would, among other things, reveal rampant instances of ‘landlordism’ among other questionable, and likely illegal practices.
Ramjattan was adamant the PPP/C administration, despite its glib promises and commitments to transparency, “are simply playing games and fooling the public.”
As it relates to the involvement of ‘big miners,’ Ramjattan was adamant, “the whole world has seen the massive corruption that took place between PPP elites, Ministers and big wigs in the mining sector.
According to the AFC Leader, since the expiration of the life of the body in March last, the PPP/C “if it wanted transparency should have named members.”
To this end, he posits that the big miners in the sector want the PPP to stifle the growth of the local EITI—GYEITI—and to eventually pull out from the international transparency watchdog body.
He reminded that under the previous administration two reports were submitted by the GYEITI, the first being some 6,000 pages documenting the affairs of the extractive industry.
According to Ramjattan, were Guyana to lose its membership in October, the PPP/C’s commitment to transparency would be called into question.
Additionally, the AFC Leader has since called on the administration to go a step further and concretise the EITI reporting standards and guidelines in law, so as to make it legally enforceable and binding.
The initiative currently functions on a voluntary basis. Following such a move (implementing legislation), Ramjattan intimated that the Secretariat which is responsible for carrying out the decisions taken by the MSG, should then be adequately resourced and its capacity and staffing strengthened.
To this end, he has since also called on the administration to also remove GYEITI from under the auspices of any Ministry, since such a body should remain as a Statutory Independent entity, free from the control of any Ministry, Minister or government department.
To this end, he is calling for the EITI’s International Standards and Guidelines to be codified in Law.
EITI is a global standard that promotes transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
It has a robust yet flexible methodology for disclosing and reconciling company payments and government revenues in implementing countries.
According to the entity, “EITI international Board and implementing member countries believe that a country’s natural resource wealth is the patrimony of its citizens.”
As such, “through increased transparency and accountability, EITI can increase public trust and dialogue, improve governance, attract investment, and manage and enhance growth so that citizens receive financial and societal benefits from a country’s natural resources.”
In each of the implementing countries, the EITI is supported by a coalition of government, companies, and civil society, referred to as the MSG.
Guyana is still to renew the life of its MSG since its life expired in March last. This publication understands that some members of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) have outright refused to sit on the board, among other proposed members, contributing to the current state of affairs.
GYEITI is currently headed by Dr. Rudy Jadoopat.
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