Every Man, Woman and Child in Guyana Must Become Oil-Minded

Part 22


Oil and the Environment

The title of this week’s column is borrowed from a presentation by Annette Arjoon-Martins, Mr. Anand Goolsarran and Ms. Melinda Janki held at Moray House last evening. Annette is of course particularly known for her work with the community in Region One at Shell Beach in protecting marine turtles. Goolsarran is a former Auditor General of Guyana who also served the United Nations in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, which probably required as much of a skill in auditing as in dodging bullets. Melinda Janki is an attorney-at-law specialising in international environmental law and indigenous and human rights who has also worked for a number of international oil companies.

Not surprisingly, there was much discussion on the environmental permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited (ExxonMobil) which should see the oil giant and its two JV partners begin to pump oil in 2020. Melinda Janki was adamant that given the weaknesses identified in the documents submitted by ExxonMobil for the issue of an Environmental Permit, the permit that has been issued should be revoked. The documentation comprises an Environmental Impact Assessment, Technical Appendices, Environmental and Socio-Economic Management Plan and Oil Spill Response Plan. Citing statistics and information contained in the documents, Ms. Janki is convinced that a case can be made for the Environmental Permit to be set aside by the Court!….