Glenn Lall exposes Jagdeo double standards
– yet to release oil production reports, but while in opposition accused Coalition of being secretive
Kaieteur News – While serving as Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo had much to say at his weekly press conferences, where he accused the former coalition government of being secretive when it comes to the management of the oil and gas sector.
Now two years later, as the Vice President with responsibility for oil and gas in the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government, he is yet to prove himself different.
This is particularly evident as key information pertaining to the management of the sector remains hidden from the public. This is the case with monthly oil production reports for example. Kaieteur News Publisher, Glenn Lall during his Wednesday radio programme drew his listeners’ attention to the voice of Jagdeo who had that time chastised the coalition administration for keeping the Guyanese public in the dark. In one of the recordings Jagdeo is heard arguing, “After I said release the list, his (Raphael Trotman) Ministry (of Natural Resources) put out a long statement that they have been keeping the Guyanese public informed and this has been the most secretive government about that contract and he with a straight face said that.”
Jagdeo then went on to challenge Trotman to release the necessary information to keep the Guyanese population informed. However, being in command of the oil sector today, Jagdeo has failed to honour the very demands that he had made in the interest of keeping the nation informed. To this end, Lall reasoned: “Now what is he doing? How is he any different from what the Coalition was doing? Every day, the Kaieteur News is asking him and his government 89 and 99 things about the oil industry, not 8 or 9 and he ducking and diving like a duck, running around avoiding the press, telling the reporters they are here to answer the citizens questions not the reporters.”
Lall went on to enquire, “Where are the review reports, Mr. Jagdeo? Where are the local content reports that you just ‘cuss’ Trotman about, Mr. Jagdeo? Where is the daily or monthly oil production report, Jagdeo?”
Lall told listeners and viewers of the programme, which is also aired live on Facebook and YouTube that the Vice President is doing worse than the former government as they released the local content reports to give the nation a hint as to how much the oil companies were spending in Guyana, as well as the different sectors benefitting and who were receiving contracts. The businessman argued, “the Coalition who Jagdeo accused of being secretive, used to release a monthly production report so all of Guyana can know how much oil pumping out there daily. Why you’re not releasing these reports for us to see who getting the contracts Jagdeo? Why the Guyanese people can’t see and know who really making money in this country from the oil? And most importantly, now that we pumping more oil, why you don’t want the people of this country to know how much oil is coming up out there every day? Why we don’t know the cost per barrel? Why we don’t know the price they are selling the oil for to share profits?”
The newspaper publisher explained that for years, international oil experts have been asking what formula ExxonMobil has been using to calculate its profits from the Guyana basin, as he too questioned why the country must be excused from accessing such important facts in the interest of transparency. Lall challenged, “You and ExxonMobil own the oil out there? Are you in partnership with ExxonMobil protecting their interest or there is something else going on that we don’t know about? Come out and tell the nation – release the reports, audit the books so that Guyana can know what’s going on with their oil wealth.”
Former Executive Member of the Transparency Institute Guyana Inc (TIGI), Mr. Alfred Bhulai in a letter to this newspaper had also called for the monthly oil production reports to be published. He explained that Guyanese are paying for the Liza Destiny and Liza Unity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels operating in the Stabroek Block, however citizens are completely unaware of what value they are getting for their dollars, as information pertaining to the levels of production among others, are not readily available for public scrutiny.
Presently, the public is free to view the revenue accumulated from oil production, through the Ministry of Finance’s website, however, there are no reports on how much of the resource is being removed from below the seafloors, as well as other technical data.
He argued that “all production (data) must be known” and that “the people paying for it must know what they are paying for and be able to inspect production at any time”.
While pointing to the importance of being aware of such variables, the environmentalist highlighted that the process flow and rates must be known. “If there is a spill, we will also be able to estimate it from the rate at the source. When gas is flared or vented, as responsible stewards of the Earth, we have to know how much of what is damaging the environment.”