Petroleumworld 09 12 2018
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation on petroleum matters which will be signed between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) will not be kept secret.
Questioned by Kaieteur News at State House yesterday, President David Granger disclosed his intention to make the agreement public.
“It is not a secret document. It is just an agreement to cooperate. It was vetted by the Department of Energy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I will ask for that document to be released,” the President stated.
T&T's Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, was expected to visit Guyana yesterday to sign the MoU and a separate cooperation framework, but postponed the engagement until possibly next week.
The President's decision follows several calls from the private sector and the Opposition for the MoU to be made public amidst concerns that the bilateral agreement would lay the groundwork for Trinidadian businesses and workers to overpower local companies in the oil and gas sector.
All of the concerns are also being fueled by a lack of a local content policy for the sector.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge has made it pellucid during his interview with Kaieteur News that the Government would press ahead with signing the agreement in spite of the concerns from the private sector.
At an “emergency” press conference on Wednesday, GCCI's President, Deodat Indar said that the Chamber wants to see the MoU to ascertain if there would be dire consequences for the private sector. The businessman said that the Chamber is not against investments from T&T. He stressed, however, that the MoU, depending on the arrangements in it, could open the floodgates, leaving Guyanese businesses without an iota of protection in the oil and gas market. This was followed up by a call to make the document public.
Dismissing these concerns, Greenidge said that T&T does not need a MoU to establish itself here. He said, too, that if the T&T Prime Minister, Rowley has announced that the MoU will pave the way for Trinidadian firms to also be successful here, “then nothing is wrong with that.”
The Minister said, “Many T&T firms are here without a MoU so I don't know what they (GCCI) are going on with. This is not the first MoU we are going to sign and before they stand up and start to make allegations that are completely unwarranted, they must look closely at the relations between Guyana and TT.”
In this regard, Greenidge said that between 1975 and 1992, Guyana could not pay for the oil it was importing, but TT opted to carry that burden.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that Guyana cannot seek to improve its bilateral relations with a nation only when it is doing well. He said, “They are our CARICOM sister and they have rights and those rights do not depend on a MoU.”
Story by Kaieteur News
kaieteurnewsonline.com 09 13 2018
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