Nov 18, 2021 News
…demands audit of Exxon’s US$ 9.5B spending
Kaieteur News – Pull Quote: “I have seen Glenn Lall carrying out on a daily basis, a lot of these information; most of what he says makes a lot of sense to Guyanese people, because it is demolishing, it is disaggregating this aura that they have thrown over oil and gas that it is something so technical that ordinary people can’t understand,” said Harmon
Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon on Wednesday said he is now prepared to stand up to the ‘International bullies’ to reclaim the rights of the Guyanese citizens, specifically with regards to the oil and gas sector.
Harmon during a virtual Press conference on Wednesday told reporters that the Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo’s statements, on the failure to audit the spending of ExxonMobil has to be one of the worst he has ever heard. “This is one of the worst statements I have ever heard. You cannot, not be in a position to audit these accounts. The fact of the matter is that Jagdeo, (President) Irfaan Ali and all of them are under the hammer of Exxon,” he pointed out.
“We all saw what happened just shortly after the 2nd August when the US Secretary of State and all of these high officials from the United States were here, and the meetings were kept, decisions were made, contracts were signed, we asked for those things to be made public and they never did because they are under pressure. They had to deliver. Pompeo came for them to deliver on their part. He had done his part by getting us out of Office. It was now Jagdeo’s turn to deliver and so it wasn’t much choice which he had. And so for you to now come and say that you couldn’t audit it, go and get it done!” the Opposition Leader demanded.
He noted that it is never too late to conduct such audits, even as he called for the Government to come clean. “It’s never too late to audit. (US)$9.5 billion you are saying that you cannot audit it?…Jagdeo, Irfaan Ali and the PPP regime, along with their enablers in the private sector, those foreign companies that come here and believe they can disrespect Constitutional office holders simply because they are in bed with the Government that that is going to be accepted by the Guyanese people,” he said.
Harmon explained that he has been taking note of the locals, specifically Kaieteur News’ Publisher, Mr. Glenn Lall who has not been sparing the Government. “I have seen Glenn Lall carrying out on a daily basis, a lot of these information…most of what he says makes a lot of sense to Guyanese people, because it is demolishing, it is disaggregating this aura that they have thrown over oil and gas that it is something so technical that ordinary people can’t understand,” he pointed out.
Harmon shared that he was recently entertained on a United States television programme, where a senior representative from ExxonMobil told viewers that the company has cleared off all of their loans and all they had borrowed in a short space of time, “because they had an excellent contract”.
Notably, the Leader of the Opposition said that at no point did Exxon make reference to Guyana, a country he said is the only one they are profitably benefitting from. He said, this is premised on the fact that the rights of Guyanese citizens were sold out to ‘International bullies.” “We have enablers in government that have sold out the rights of the Guyanese people just because they wanted to get into office, and now they can’t stand up to these International bullies. We are prepared to do that. We have nothing to worry about. We are prepared to stand up to them,” he asserted.
Rape of resources
Harmon in response to a question told reporters that the citizens of Guyana must be prepared to stand-up against the rape of resources, even as the Opposition remains poised to approach the Courts on such issues.
“We have been approaching the Courts on several Constitutional issues. We’ve approached the court on issues where there were persons who were sitting in the National Assembly that was in violation of the Constitution. We’ve approached the Courts on issues where the Constitution provided for lump sums to be paid to certain constitutional agencies and the government violated that. We’ve approached the court and several other constitutional matters for the national good…but I think what we are looking at now is a wider network of skills that will be prepared to take this matter in our Courts and be prepared to take it outside of Guyana in the Courts,” he said.
“There are some people who’ve actually been carrying a tireless battle outside of Guyana, fighting for the rights of the Guyanese people, as it relates to this oil and gas sector. But I think as we move forward we’re definitely going to need more hands on deck, because what is happening is that before our very eyes, we are seeing the rape and pillage of our Resources, by an uncaring Administration that just believes that the wealth of Guyana belongs to them. It is their personal right and it is to be distributed in a manner that only they will determine. Certainly some of these matters will have to continue going to Court,” Harmon explained.
The Opposition Leader further noted that locals are now more educated and have a better understanding of the sector. Hence “the Guyanese people outside of the courts, outside of the parliament will have to start to take certain steps to make it very clear to this Administration that we are not going to allow you to rape and pillage our resources without serious consequences.
Government’s failure to audit
Due to the nation’s failure to conduct cost audits within the two-year deadline prescribed in the Stabroek Block Agreement, Guyana has no choice but to allow ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), to recover all stated costs for its Liza Phase One and Two Projects. Both initiatives total approximately US$9.5B.
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has said the government is disappointed that it has not been able to push through with these critical post-2017 audits.
Expounding further, the Vice President said, “We have been very disappointed that we have not been able to select a group to do the audit of the post-2017 expenditure by Exxon. The reason is that we didn’t have strong local content. We had two groups, two local groups that came in but they were not strong enough. We want to build the capacity in Guyana to do this audit. We think that our people have enormous skills, forensic skills and auditing capacity.”
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