Jun 28, 2022 News
– Article 13, joins Glenn Lall, others
By Zena Henry
Kaieteur News – As resistance against the unfavourable Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) between Guyana, Exxon and its partners continue in different quarters of the country, civil society group Article 13 has taken their protest for the first time to the Office of the President and has sent a clear message to Leader of the Opposition Aubrey Norton that he is next in line to be demonstrated against.
Remaining adamant in their bid for change to the country’s oil contract, the civil society body is prepared to picket the National Assembly, all oil and gas agencies and ministries with responsibility for the sector and members of the Opposition for their inaction in securing a better deal for Guyana’s oil and gas resources. The group is also scheduled to take its concerns countrywide, with the intention of making citizens aware of the PSA, how it negatively impacts the country and ultimately their ability to benefit from the resource.
Article 13’s co-founder, Dr. Yog Mahadeo told the Kaieteur News that the organisation is keen on public awareness and is bent on providing copies of the PSA to ensure persons see the document and become aware of the hurtful provisions.
Mahadeo told the newspaper that so far, the group has gone to Berbice, Essequibo and will be heading to Linden, among other areas, as part of their educational outreaches.
The Article 13 insisted that the entire National Assembly needs to come together in support of changing the contract. At this point however, what appears to be happening is a conspiracy by both parties, protecting each other’s position on not renegotiating this contract, Dr. Desmond Thomas who lent support to the protest said. He said that there are very few things in the history in this country which the two political parties have agreed on and found it very interesting that they both agree on not negotiating this terrible PSA. They are on the same side defending the oil contract, Thomas highlighted. He believes therefore that outside of possibly corrupt actions in the doling out of Guyana’s oil benefits, there may be outside pressure coming down on the leaders to uphold the contract.
Dr. Mahadeo nonetheless went on to address the PSA “apologists”. He related that while in the past there were loud voices against the lopsided PSA, “all of a sudden there’s a ton of cheerleaders for this contract,” with several persons, some paid by the government, writing articles supporting same. “In 2016 when we all opposed it (PSA), we all came out publicly. Madame Gail Teixeira in Parliament on 8 of August 2016 spoke on all our behalves when she said that this is no good. Now that opposition is the government and suddenly it (PSA) is good. We can’t have it both ways,” Mahadeo charged.
The current government lied when claiming that they would renegotiate the contract, “and all we want is to ask them to restart negotiations; to put the contract back on the table as Guyanese need better.” He continued therefore that since the PSA states clearly that no change or renegotiation can occur unless all parties agree to head back to the negotiating table, Mahadeo asserted that instead of the government and opposition talking about the sanctity of contracts, they should state clearly whether they at any time approached ExxonMobil and friends to request changes to increase Guyana’s oil benefits and what the response was.
Mahadeo went on to address one of the PSA ills, that is, Guyana paying Exxon’s taxes. “There obviously are a lot of political machinations to explain it away. It cannot be explained away.” What the public should know is that the (Natural Resource) minister directs the Guyana Revenue Office (GRA) to write the tax certificates for Exxon, “in other words the minister is telling the head of GRA to write the receipts even though you didn’t receive any money.” GRA boss, Godfrey Statia is the best where Guyana’s tax laws are concerned, Mahadeo opined. “But the truth is, one cannot countenance such existence of rules and regulations where a minister must direct the head of GRA to write receipts for money not received, and this is what the contract does.” “Something has to be unconscionable in the administration, in the executive in President Irfaan Ali and VP Bharrat Jagdeo and all of them to allow such a thing to continue.”
Kaieteur News Publisher, Mr. Glenn Lall also led protest for a better oil contract on Monday in front of the Guyana Shore Base Incorporated (GYSBI) office at Houston. This is the second week that the publisher and supporters of a better oil contract have been protesting the grave matter. With every week more protestors come to lend support with some coming from out of town and other far-flung areas. Lall continues to invite citizens to pay attention to the lopsided PSA and to speak out against the burdensome provisions the contract binds Guyanese too.
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