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Petroleum Act expressly authorizes disclosures such as ExxonMobil contract – PPP

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in a statement condemned the Government for the falsehood being peddled as it relates to the contract with ExxonMobil and Guyana. 

The party is of the view that the falsehood is either a deliberate plot by the Government to fool the people of Guyana. “This lie is either peddled deliberately, or is yet another exhibition of the extravagant incompetence about which we regularly complain in respect of this Government. In this instance, it is simply an issue of Ministers of the Government deliberately lying, or being unable to read and comprehend the simple English language in which Section 4 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act is expressed,” the statement read.

Notably, the PPP is of the view that the very Section that the Ministers are wrongly interpreting do allow for the disclosure of the contract. “In fact, this section of the Act expressly authorizes disclosures such as the ExxonMobil contract, not prohibit it, as these incompetent Ministers have been asserting.”

Below is the full statement from the PPP:
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wishes to denounce as an absolute falsehood, the contentions peddled by the Coalition Government that the Jagdeo Administration passed an amendment in 1997 to the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, which prevents the disclosure of the ExxonMobil contract.

This ridiculous assertion has been parroted repeatedly by several members of the Coalition Government, including, Ministers Trotman, Gaskin and Ramjattan. This lie is either peddled deliberately, or is yet another exhibition of the extravagant incompetence about which we regularly complain in respect of this Government. In this instance, it is simply an issue of Ministers of the Government deliberately lying, or being unable to read and comprehend the simple English language in which Section 4 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act is expressed. In fact, this section of the Act expressly authorizes disclosures such as the ExxonMobil contract, not prohibit it, as these incompetent Ministers have been asserting.

In their assertions, they attribute this prohibition as an amendment to the law done in 1997 by President Bharrat Jagdeo. Even this they got wrong. Mr. Jagdeo was not the President in 1997. In any event, the 1997 amendments do not prohibit the disclosure of such information. Therefore, these Ministers have been shamelessly misleading the nation over the last several months on this issue.

Although this lie has been comprehensively exposed, Kaieteur News in its Sunday September 10, 2017 edition, in a letter titled ‘This government had adopted Jagdeo’s secrecy mentality’ by “Rudolph Singh”, continues to repeat it.
This same level of lies and misinformation is being repeatedly peddled by the Guyana Chronicle. In its 9th September 2017, edition, under the caption ‘I have nothing to hide’, the Chronicle quotes extensively from a report submitted by Sukrishnalall Pasha, a Commissioner on the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) in respect of the controversial purchase of $632M of drugs by Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), without the resort to any form of tender.

This report is confidential and was apparently submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly. How Chronicle got a copy of the report (since they are quoting from it extensively) remains a mystery. The Chronicle article says, “Pasha’s 30-page minority report is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly by the Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – with the intention of countering the substantive report prepared by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) on GPHC’s multi-million drug purchase.” This is another vulgar lie. The PPP has not seen this report and has not been asked to submit the same to the National Assembly. Indeed, we shall attempt to secure a copy of the same from the National Assembly in due course.

Lies, falsehood and the refusal to make public, information to which the public is entitled, have now become a staple in the daily diet of this Administration. Ministers of the Government, the Department of Public Information, Kaieteur News, David Hinds, Freddie Kissoon and others are all outlets through which these lies and misinformation flow.
People’s Progressive Party
September 10, 2017

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