The Ministry of Natural Resources refutes statements made by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo purporting that the Government is not informing the Guyanese public of developments in the oil and gas sector. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is evidence that the Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources has been more open to sharing information, engaging citizens and accepting criticism than the previous administration.
In this context, the Ministry points to the fact that all petroleum production contracts are now available for public scrutiny on the following websites: www.dpi.gov.gy and www.nre.gov.gy. This is the first time that these contracts would have been shared with the public despite them being signed before this administration came into office. In January 2018, Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Raphael Trotman committed to releasing the contracts. That commitment has been honoured. Further, efforts are now underway to release major mining contracts.
In addition to making the contracts available to the public, the Ministry of Natural Resources conducted public outreaches throughout Guyana to inform residents of developments in the oil and gas and natural resources sector and these are ongoing. Each of these sessions was well attended and questions asked by residents were answered factually and honestly.
In the process of developing a Local Content Policy, the Ministry of Natural Resources engaged a number of organisations including five Chambers of Commerce, the University of Guyana, other Ministries, professional associations and individuals. These engagements allowed persons the opportunity to make their contributions towards a Local Content Policy for the oil and gas sector. The second draft of the policy is now available for perusal by the public on the following websites: www.business.gov.gy and www.nre.gov.gy
As further evidence of the government’s openness and willingness to share information, the records of the National Assembly will show that Minister Trotman and Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Hon. Simona Brooms, have appeared before the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources on several occasions, and most recently, on May 18, where Minister Trotman delivered a full and frank presentation that addressed at length, developments in the oil and gas sector. That Committee is chaired by PPP Member of Parliament Hon. Odinga Lumumba and includes Hon. Yvonne Pearson and Hon. Need Kumar, both of the PPP/C. No suggestions were made at any appearances before this Committee that the Ministry, or Ministers, were withholding information in any way. Instead, the Ministers have been repeatedly complimented for their open and forthright presentations.
Further, at the request of the Minister of Natural Resources, ExxonMobil has been providing updates and briefings to the Leader of the Opposition at his office.
Bharrat Jagdeo’s claim that the government is operating in secrecy when it comes to developments in the oil and gas sector is unfounded and clearly made to score cheap political points.