The Ministry of the Presidency yesterday condemned as false the claim that President David Granger has ‘stripped’ Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman of responsibility for oil.
A report to this effect was carried in the Tuesday, February 27, 2018 edition of the online publication, Citizens Report, headlined “Granger strips Trotman of oil responsibilities” and the Wednesday, February 28, 2018 edition of the Guyana Times, headlined “ExxonMobil discovers more oil offshore Guyana …Trotman to be stripped of responsibility for oil”.
In a statement, the ministry said that despite the fact that Trotman made public on Tuesday that it was, in fact, he who had made the proposal to the Cabinet for the Department of Energy to be set up and managed under the Ministry of the Presidency, the articles, it appears, were deliberately crafted to mislead the public.
The ministry referred to another statement from it the day before where it was disclosed that the concept note submitted to the Cabinet by Trotman outlined the need for the new Department and the role it would take on with regard to oil management.
The statement yesterday said that Trotman’s proposal was accepted by the Cabinet on Tuesday after detailed discussions on its contents.
“The Natural Resources Minister has provided sterling leadership in the development of the sector and it is under his stewardship that significant progress has been made in capacity building and preparations for ‘first oil’. Some notable achievements include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Petroleum Institute of Mexico for training and capacity building, which has seen the commencement of training for Guyanese, the drafting of the Petroleum Commission Bill, Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill and Health, Safety and Environment Regulations and the revision of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act with the help of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“Additionally, in keeping with Government’s intention to ensure Guyanese’ involvement in the Petroleum industry, an internationally recognised consultant has been retained to draft a local content policy for Government’s approval and this process is in its final stages while the capacity of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is being boosted to respond to any incidence of oil spill or related disasters”, the statement said.
It added that the Ministry of Natural Resources was also instrumental in Guyana’s acceptance as the 53rd member of the Extractive Industries Transpa-rency Initiative (EITI) in September 2017, one of the fastest acceptance periods for any member state while the Natural Resources Fund Bill is with the Ministry of Finance and a settled draft is expected to be presented in the first quarter of 2018.
“The two articles are, therefore, are at odds with the utterances of Minister Trotman and the facts of the matter and can be deemed malicious and dishonest. They come just two days after Minister Trotman, during an interview with the Ministry of the Presidency, said that it appears that several persons and media houses are bent on fulfilling a mandate, which targets the Government, the oil and gas sector and the company, which is operating here”, ExxonMobil said.