Sep 15, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Former Finance Minister Winston Jordan has said that the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government was well prepared to strengthen the Natural Resource Fund (NRF), particularly its Public Accountability and Oversight Committee (PAOC) when it sought to establish partnerships with other oil producing nations ahead of the 2018 no confidence motion that prematurely forced its removal from government.
Jordan said that not only had the previous government put the laws and mechanisms in place to empower and enable the NRF but it was preparing to learn from other countries that had established themselves and were willing to share their experiences about the sector.
One such country is Uganda, which had discovered oil in commercial quantity, six years prior to Guyana. In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, Jordan explained that Uganda was an emerging state, just as Guyana but somewhat ahead. “And we learnt how difficult it was for them as soon as they found oil to start getting their act together,” Jordan told the newspaper. Pointing out that Uganda does not have the race issues that Guyana is known for Jordan said that the country was able to put a number of things in place in preparation of their oil wealth. “They were able to put together the (Petroleum) commission, their version of NRF and all those things,” the former minister said. He urged that Uganda, “… had a whole group of youngsters who studied in Edinburgh in Scotland and other places.” He said these persons were sent overseas to study in fields such as petroleum engineering among others and in one large building housed the professionals. There were several sectors where persons were reading maps about the seabed, the land space and other types of information.
The Guyanese team was even exposed to a communal meeting where authorities went to talk to tribes on whose land some of the oil was found. It involved the amount of money they would get and organize for sessions to teach the people how to use the money to develop themselves. Impressed by the country’s preparation for the oil sector, Jordan said that is why when the then government constructed the public accountability and oversight committee, “we were bringing people from Uganda to teach us how this committee could work and what are some of the issues.” Jordan said that’s why also there is a difference between the NRF passed by the People’s Progressive Party government and that of the previous government. “When you look in our law, you would see the very extensive role the PAOC would have played.”
In the NRF by the previous government, 22 members would have sat on the PAOC with representatives from transparency organisations, civil society, accounting, the regions, and even the media among others. The current government has nonetheless reduced the committee to nine members: two coming from the business community, three from the religious community, two from labour and professionals, and one from the National Assembly.
While the passage of the NRF caused a big racket that saw several opposition MPs being suspended from Parliament and a court case currently in progress, the Opposition is now accusing the government of not only weakening the NRF, but filling it with persons directly or indirectly connected to the party. Opposition Member of Parliament and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC), Shurwayne Holder on Monday said that seven of the nine persons appointed to the PAOC, are known publicly to have deep affiliation with the PPP, while the two representatives from the Private Sector are a sitting Vice President and a former Vice President of the Private Sector Commission, which he insinuated leans of the side of the current government. Holder continued that of the three representatives from the religious community, one is from the Dharmic Sabha which is led by a Minister of Government; the second representative happens to be the Chief Commercial Officer of a major Internet Service Provider and the Chief Executive Officer of that company happens to be the son of a former PPP Minister and brother of a sitting Minister, Holder said. “The third representative has known links to GINA and the Ministry of Health and is in fact a known critic of former Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and wrote articles to that effect, he said.
Holder accused the government of “coining” the NRF Bill to allow them to determine largely the nominees from the Labour Unions. “Instead of allowing the two major unions – GTUC and FITUG to provide nominees, one representative came from GPSU (a breakaway faction of GTUC) and the other being the General Secretary of GAWU”, whose President is a PPP MP, he said.
The Parliamentary Nominee, Holder continued, was virtually selected by the PPP through their one seat majority and has been appointed by the President to chair the Committee. Holder said it is “quite clear that the PPP Government has no genuine interest in transparency and accountability with respect to the spending of oil money. What it is interested in and has since been accomplished is the appointment of its friends and cronies to allow for total domination and control of the NRF board and more importantly the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee.”
Oct 02, 2022By Rawle Toney Kaieteur News – Jamaul John and Cleveland Thomas took top honours yesterday, when the Kaieteur Attack Racing and Team United hosted the Fireworks/Golden Mile Athletics Race...
Oct 01, 2022
Oct 01, 2022
Oct 01, 2022
Oct 01, 2022
Oct 01, 2022
Kaieteur News – If Barack Obama had run against Bernie Sanders, I would have voted for Sanders. If Kamala Harris seeks... more
Kaieteur News – There should be a meeting of all the groups and individuals opposed to the oil deal. An alliance should... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]