May 07, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Citizens of Guyana are now calling for the dismissal of the executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Kemraj Parsram for failing to act in the best interest of the country.
Member of Parliament, David Patterson and transparency advocate Dr. Jerry Jailall both on separate occasions said Parsram should vacate the post.
During an Alliance For Change (AFC) press conference on Thursday, party member, Dr. Vincent Adams described the recent High Court ruling on insurance for the Stabroek Block oil and gas production activities as an indictment on the operations of the EPA.
In prefacing Patterson’s position on the matter, Dr. Adams told members of the media that this agency, which is mandated to be the country’s protector against all environmental hazards, has ceded its responsibility to the oil industry, since the administration changed.
He pointed out, “This is the second major ruling that has been levelled against the EPA- the first being its unlawful decision to waiver the granting of an EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] for the storage of radioactive materials in a residential zone – which clearly demonstrates that the management of this agency is inadequate and lack the necessary qualifications to carry out its important functions.”
Dr. Adams also noted that Justice Sandil Kissoon in his ruling this past week described the EPA as being “submissive and abdicated its responsibilities, thereby putting this nation and its people in grave potential danger of calamitous disaster” and “an egregious state of affairs that have engulfed the EPA in a quagmire of its own making.”
To this end, he urged that “the time has now arrived to address the running of this agency.” Patterson later in the press conference said while he does not believe in the dismissal of public servants, he does believe the EPA head would be better positioned to support the oil sector.
He told the media that Parsram has put the nation in danger by failing to fulfill his statutory duties and should therefore not be allowed to lead the agency.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jerry Jailall in a letter to Kaieteur News published on May 5, reasoned that taxpayers are funding the EPA so that it would put Guyanese first, instead of the interests of “oil imperialists” with no mercy on a poor country, where the minimum wage barely reaches US$300 monthly.
Jail all said, “If the current EPA is unwilling or unable to do their job as required by Guyana’s laws, then they need to resign en masse and reopen under new leadership that will place the interests of our nation first.”
He even noted that Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo should consider International Lawyer, Melina Janki, advocate Simone Mangal-Joly and Elizabeth Deane-Hughes or former head of the agency, Dr. Vincent Adams. These candidates, according to Jailall would ensure a “ton of bricks” fall on the operator’s head for failing to comply with the regulations.
It must be noted that while calls are being made for the removal of the EPA Head due to the public’s lack of faith in his ability to protect the nation due to past actions, the Government of Guyana (GoG) had made it clear that it had taken steps to ensure the petroleum activities are fast-tracked.
Last May, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat at an event said, “We had to ensure that the permitting process was not as cumbersome or not as tedious as it used to be in the past without jeopardizing the integrity or without compromising anything to ensure we fast track the approval of development coming to our country.”
He explained that it is important that the permitting process does not serve as a hindrance to development, adding that when the People’s Progressive Party / Civic (PPP/C) took office in August 2020, hundreds of millions were tied up by agencies such as the EPA, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) as well as the regional authorities, such as City Hall.
Moreover, he said the decision to fast-track permits was particularly important since foreign investors always check on the length of time a permit takes to be approved. According to him, “…anywhere in the world that you go, anywhere you go to an investment forum that is the first question that is asked by investors; how is the permitting process in the country? Is it difficult to startup in the country?”
It must be noted that a 2022 Report by IHS Markit has flagged the Government’s control of State agencies, particularly those responsible for the management of the oil sector, as being a means of fast tracking and facilitating project approvals in the oil and gas sector.
The document titled ‘Guyana aims to strengthen institutions to avoid petro-state pitfalls’ noted that though the country’s upstream regulatory and management responsibilities are dispersed across different state entities, the current institutional arrangement places these entities under the full control of Guyana’s executive branch.
Over the past few months, members of civil society have been complaining about the ramping up of oil production activities off the country’s coasts by American energy giant, ExxonMobil. In the meantime, the regulatory body that permits these projects has been the subject of criticism for waiving Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for drilling projects, which environmentalists believe could negatively impact the marine environment.
Jagdeo will make ayo sell ayo bodies to feed ya’ll pickney.
Sep 30, 2023World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships Kaieteur News – The Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPLF) is set to continue its hectic year of competition when the...
Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... 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.