The Ministry of Natural Resources would like to respond to recent comments on the Development Plan for Liza Phase 1 which appear to raise inadvertently or otherwise, the spectre of some sinister motive or corruption in the decision making process.
The Ministry of Natural Resources was given the strict responsibility of ensuring ‘first oil’ production by 2020 and that was the preeminent objective over the past three years; whilst working with other Ministries that had specific mandates to ensure that the timeline was kept. The Officers at the Ministry did their best within their capabilities, capacities and available resources.
At every step of the way, the Ministry of Natural Resources relied on guidance and advice from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and the external contractors retained by that entity, to guide on each such step. Additionally, the Ministry sought and obtained Cabinet’s unanimous approval for each decision made.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is not legally imbued with regulatory powers and relies on the semi-autonomous agencies within its remit to provide advice and recommendations when decisions such as the one now being challenged are to be made. In the instance of the Development Plan, the GGMC indicated that it lacked the capacities to review the Development Plan for Liza Phase 1, and as such recommended, and Cabinet approved, the retention of an international firm, which eventually advised GGMC that the Development Plan was well within the international standards for a project of this nature. Consequently, based on the recommendation of GGMC, the Development Plan was approved.
The Ministry and GGMC sought to ensure that in achieving the objective of ‘first oil’ by 2020, overall and international best practices were observed. Though it may be difficult for some to see presently, the nation will, in the near future, realise, and come to know, that no funds were misappropriated and that no illegality or nefarious objective guided our decision-making at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
We are pleased to have played a part in having Guyana and its citizens realise their long promised and awaited attainment of their destiny, and wish the Department of Energy God’s speed and guidance in the process going forward.
September 14, 2018
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