Jagdeo says avoiding oil activities due to gov’t servility

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says he has deliberately stayed away from all oil-related activities due to his discomfort with some of the postures being taken by the government.

“I tend not to go out to these activities. I can’t handle the platitudes and the small talk sometimes,” he said when asked why he did not attend the recent launch of the Liza Phase 1 Development Project.

Jagdeo, who was at the time was responding to questions during a press briefing held at his office, said he was invited but discomfort has kept him away from similar forums.

“I don’t want to disparage people’s activities… be like a spoil sport… but I am just not cut out for it, for those sort of things, to have to listen to [Natural Resources Minister Raphael] Trotman quote the scriptures with all the illegalities that he has presided over… It turns my stomach to have to go through that sort of things,” he told reporters.

“People who come here because of our resources, we welcome them but they have a motive to make money. That’s not bad but we have to determine where our country goes and I am not in favour of treating anybody who comes here as our saviour… simply because they spend a little money in our economy,” he stressed.

At the launch, which was held at Cara Lodge, Trotman had pointed out that Guyana has a “jubilee opportunity” and “second chance” to erase the stigmas associated with it, such as “Third World, backward and undeveloped,” and to work towards building a Guyana where “every person, every man woman and child can benefit from the bounty we are about to receive.”

Trotman also used his address to continue government’s defence of the renegotiated production sharing agreement with ExxonMobil and its partners, saying that it has the same benefits as a number of other companies that are here. “ExxonMobil, a company that has been in Guyana since 1999, has the same or very similar contractual terms as was Anadarko, CGX, REPSOL, Ratio, Eco-Atlantic and Mid Atlantic. In that regard, they will enjoy the same rights and obligations as every other company that has been contracted by the government to explore and develop our hydrocarbons,” he said. “That they were the first to find a large deposit should not redefine their contractual terms or place them in any position less than that enjoyed prior to discovery. For government to do otherwise is not how responsible or how well-organised and governed states function,” he added.

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