The Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GY-EITI) says that a decision will be taken next month on making a public statement in relation to the controversial singing bonus between the government and ExxonMobil.
Questioned by this newspaper on whether the GY-EITI would be making a public statement on the issue, National Coordinator Dr Rudy Jadoopat, while refusing to give a definitive answer, explained that the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), will hold its statutory meeting on January 10, 2018, where the question of a statement will be brought to its attention. The MSG is the decision-making body of the GY-EITI. The global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative focuses on holding governments and companies accountable as it relates to revenues from mineral agreements.
Earlier in the month Jadoopat gave a vague answer when questioned by this newspaper about GY-EITI’s stance after Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had admitted to concealing a signing bonus of US$18 million from the oil giant since last year.
Jadoopat had explained that he did not want to say anything specific about the signing bonus but said the GY-EITI was encouraging the government and companies to disclose payments that were being made as soon as possible.
“It would not be easy to hide those stuff because all the payments made to companies will become known to the public and this is one of the important values of the EITI. We would’ve found out in any case and it’s just that it is happening now but nobody can really hide these kinds of payments. I don’t think the government had any intention of hiding any payments and whether any money was received or not we do not have any documentation, we just have things that were said,” Jadoopat had said.
A source from the MSG had also explained that representatives from civil society had made a statement reaffirming their commitment to accountability and transparency at the last board meeting.
“We believe that it wasn’t in keeping with the principles of transparency and called the government out and asked them to reevaluate their assessment of what transparency really means. We reminded them that the resources of Guyana are for the people of Guyana and pressed them to have that reflected,” the source had pointed out, while explaining that as such, the group took a collective stance to get the work done to ensure that proper systems are put in place, rather than responding to every headline.
The source had also highlighted that there is a need for legislative changes that would use the law to hold companies and the government responsible for transparency and accountability.
“We have set up a work plan or wish list of things we want to do to ensure transparency and accountability,” the source told Stabroek News.