How could a senior government functionary publicly imply that a major investor is a thief?

Dear Editor:

“We expect ExxonMobil will try to rob us as much as they can so it is now on us to figure out how best we can defeat them. It is a waste of time at this point saying that they can rob us. That is ABC. That is known. Let us start looking for solutions and safeguards. It is useful in this regard to point out the errors made by other countries and how we can be able to do better.”

This quote is taken from the lead story in Monday’s edition of Kaieteur News which attributes the comment to Presidential Advisor Dr. Clive Thomas.

Here we go again! Not so long ago it was Imran Khan publicly expressing a personal view on an issue involving Guyana’s relations with India. Now you have Presidential Advisor Dr. Clive Thomas’ remarks that Exxon will try to rob Guyana.

My issue here, like in Imran’s case, is not the merits or demerits of the views expressed, but the process/procedure. ExxonMobil might well be out to “milk” Guyana but it is not the Presidential Advisor’s place to say that publicly unless that is the government’s official position which would be in contradiction to statements previously made by the President and several ministers including Trotman, Jordan and Greenidge.

How could a senior government functionary publicly imply that a major investor is a thief? This coalition government needs to get a grip on its public information policy. It is running ragged with contradictions and inconsistencies which could have a serious impact on its efforts to be re-elected in 2020.

I have enormous respect for Dr. Thomas. But if it was wrong for Imran then it has to be wrong for Clive to be publicly expressing personal views as a senior government functionary, which views may not be the official position of the Government of Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

Wesley Kirton

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