Kaieteur News – Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo appears to show two faces when it comes to judgments issued in the insurance case involving ExxonMobil Corporation’s affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
The case was initially filed last year by two Guyanese, Godfrey Whyte and Frederick Collins, both of whom believe that the operator was in breach of its financial obligations for oil spills in the Liza Phase One Permit. High Court Judge, Justice Sandil Kissoon subsequently ruled that EEPGL was in breach of its permit. He ordered that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue an Enforcement Notice for the provision of an unlimited parent and/or affiliate company guarantee for oil spills by June 10 or the permit would be suspended.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall subsequently issued a statement indicating the government’s intent to appeal. Jagdeo later held a press conference stating that he agrees with Nandlall’s position as he believed the judgment to be flawed while questioning what would be the premium to be paid on unlimited insurance. He said, “There is nothing like that in the world of insurance. You can have coverage but even then, there is a defined risk.”
He had also expressed the view that the judiciary is treading in murky waters by directing a regulatory agency on how to do its job and setting a timeframe on when it should complete certain orders.
Following the ruling, EEPGL and the EPA filed appeals and successfully secured a stay of execution on the order for an unlimited parent company guarantee.
Jagdeo at a press conference on Thursday did not speak to the merits of the case as this has been ventilated from both sides already. Be that as it may, he believes the decision by Justice Rishi Persaud to issue a stay of execution may go down well globally.
The official said, “The judiciary has to act fairly in every case. We can’t tell the judiciary what positions to make and they must not make those decisions because of some international imperative. But if international investors and local people too, they can get a fair and predictable application of the law then a predictable, objective judiciary lends great confidence to locals and foreign investors.”
He concluded, “That is all we are seeking because in a modern, sophisticated jurisdiction dispute resolution is crucial in your ability to attract investment and have locals make investment. We have the Caribbean Court of Justice which has greatly enhanced our credibility too but I don’t want to say this is good or bad because people will think that is what we want.”
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