President David Granger yesterday said that the public must be kept informed about developments in the oil sector so that civil society does not think that there is “some underhand relationship” with ExxonMobil.
The President made the remarks in a meeting at State House with executives of ExxonMobil.
In recent months the government has been pressed to release the final contract concluded with ExxonMobil for the Liza 1 well. The government has steadfastly refused to release the contract citing international advice against this. The government has also come under scrutiny over the travel of its ministers to ExxonMobil’s headquarters in Houston, Texas at the expense of the oil company. Neither of these two topics was addressed yesterday by Granger.
According to a Ministry of the Presidency press release, Granger said that the Government will be working with ExxonMobil to develop a long-term relationship founded on transparency, accountability, openness and “aligned interests” for the good of Guyana.
Granger said that at the end of the process, Guyanese must be able to view the development of a petroleum industry as beneficial to the national interest.
“We are at the start of an oil and gas industry and we want to ensure that our people are involved… We are happy with the way things are going so far and we want to assure you of the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability. We take decisions at the Cabinet level and then those decisions are taken to the National Assembly and we do not see that process changing. All Guyanese must feel involved in the process,” the President said.
He said that it is important that there are regular and accurate announcements on matters pertaining to the sector, adding that Guyanese must be involved, especially in the mainstream opportunities, which are available.
“We have got to keep the public informed to ensure that civil society does not feel that there is some underhand relationship, which is injurious to the country. We want to make the right steps and we are looking to see that the population gets the education they need to participate in this industry. We are looking to ensure that this industry generates employment for our people and, as part of our partnership, I hope that we can have a programme, which can help to educate Guyanese on this industry,” he said.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge also assured the executives of Government’s commitment to the process of building an open and transparent relationship with the corporation.
Meanwhile, Darren Woods, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil Corporation described the meeting as fruitful, noting that the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability was discussed in detail. He said that the administration’s commitment is welcomed since the company’s interests and aims are in alignment with this. “I think it is a very productive conversation that we just had. The Government is looking to make sure that we develop the resources and that we do it the right way that can benefit the community and the people of Guyana. We are very committed to that ourselves and we had a lot of discussions and dialogue to see how best we can do that to benefit ExxonMobil, the Government and the people of Guyana,” he said.