More than five days after saying that government would ask American oil giant, Exxon-Mobil, to front-load some of its profits for major projects, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman appeared to have back-pedalled on his position.
His confirmation of such a plan came in for mixed reactions including a threat at the weekend by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to examine such a deal if it wins the next general and regional elections.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Government of Guyana, through Minister of Governance with responsibility for Natural Resources and the Environment sector, Raphael Trotman, says it is is refuting claims carried in a media report that Government plans to ask US oil company ExxonMobil for upfront payments ahead of the commercial production of oil here.
However, you can listen to the entire interview between Demerara Waves’ Journalist, Denis Chabrol and Mr. Trotman.
Minister Trotman, in an invited comment, said the assertions carried in the report “Guyana wants Exxon-Mobil to front-load some oil profits for major projects”, are false as it was never directly communicated that Government had asked the company or intends to ask the company for advances.
Trotman further said he was approached by the journalist who questioned whether the Government would consider asking the oil company for funds ahead of production and, if it was afforded the opportunity to receive early payments which area of development would the funds be channelled into. The minister said it was to this hypothetical question that he responded that Government would focus on infrastructural development if given the resources.
“I also said that if those matters were to be raised it would have to be by our President when he meets ExxonMobil’s president in January. I distinctly remember saying that I had no knowledge of government seeking any such money upfront,” he said.
However, while Government has not received any offers to date, Minister Trotman said that it will consider all possibilities which are in the best interest of the country.
At the same time, the Ministry is cautioning journalists against straying from the facts in their reporting.