In terms of revenue forgone… Exxon deal will cost us more than all other contracts signed in Guyana's history – Ram
By Kaieteur News
Petroleumworld 09 06 2018
Anyone familiar with contracts made by a Government in this country would know that the ExxonMobil-Guyana Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) is the most lopsided, reckless and costly contract since independence.
Those were the words of Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law, Chris Ram during his latest assessment of the state's preparedness for the oil sector. In his recent writings, Ram said it may not be an exaggeration to say that the agreement will cost Guyana more than all other contracts signed by all other governments in the history of this country.
Further to this, Ram said that the Granger Government has undone all the nationalization contracts engineered by the late Forbes Burnham. He said, too, that the contract will be the nation's most costly one, due to egregious provisions in the oil contract.
Ram listed the four most offensive to be the stability clause; the power of a Minister to bind successive governments in perpetuity without even the façade of parliamentary cover; self-insurance by the oil companies against all risks; and the US$460M pre-contract costs.
Ram said that all the apologists who decry others as pessimists and prophets of doom should have the courage to justify such reckless action by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman who has received the full-throated support of Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge and President, David Granger.
The Chartered Accountant said, “Trotman, for all his unbelievable lack of performance, remains as Minister either because of his loyalty or because of some rule that Ministers in a coalition Government cannot be fired. And he remains as the chief spokesman on petroleum months after responsibility for petroleum was transferred to the Ministry of the Presidency.”
Ram added, “Let us not forget that Minister Trotman has not passed a single piece of petroleum legislation in three critical years, nor has he taken the elementary step of appointing a Chief Inspector as required by the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act. If Minister Trotman had taken the time to read the relevant legislation, he would know that Guyana has no environmental protection legislation specific to the petroleum sector, arguably as important for its existential implications and the fiscal terms are for the national budget and the economy.”
Ram said, too, that another disturbing development is not only the silence of civil society, but “how easy it has been for Exxon to buy their loyalty with a rental or services contract here or a donation there…”
Given the rate at which, local authorities are developing the oil sector, Ram remarked that Guyana will soon become a company country, with “Exxon beyond the reach of our laws, our Constitution and our Parliament.”
The Chartered Accountant concluded that it is perhaps, not an irretrievable situation, but stressed that clearly there needs to be manpower changes and more leadership from the President. Ram said, “He needs to take charge before it is too late.”
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