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Oil companies may finance Guyana’s elections campaign, warns Nigel Hughes

Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes (centre) flanked by Dr. Norman Ng-a-Qui (left) and Eric Phillips.

Former Chairman of the Alliance For Change and a Director of the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA) has warned that oil companies could fund election campaigns in exercising leverage over the country’s political landscape.

Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes, who was a panelist at a session on the oil and gas sector at the just concluded 5th conference of the pro-Afro-Guyanese Cuffy250 Movement, argued that oil companies’ sole priority is to ensure that governments could help them extract crude oil to reap huge profits.

Noting that an election campaign in Guyana costs less than US$8 million and might possibly increase to US$10 million by 2020 to fund advertisements, flyers, concerts, he said that would be an easy investment for an oil company.

“If I am sitting down and I am a billionaire in the world and I want to control the oil that’s coming out of Guyana because the resources they have found here are the largest they have ever found in the last 20 years, it would take me nothing to take 15 million (US) dollars, create a political party or back a political party and I will then own the natural resources of the country so you can be bought, ladies and gentlemen, or your leaders can be bought for as little as 10 million US dollars,” said Hughes, a prominent Attorney-at-Law who has been paying very keen interest in the oil and gas sector.

Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes (centre) flanked by Dr. Norman Ng-a-Qui (left) and Eric Phillips at the head table in the background interacting with participants in the oil and gas workshop at the 5th Cuffy250 Conference.

Hughes warned the gathering of more than 50 persons in that session not to become gullible and instead be on their guard for concerts and games. “All of this is going to be very cheap for the oil company and it will guarantee that it has government under its control,” he said.

Demerara Waves Online News has been told that top officials of one of the prominent parties in the governing coalition are concerned about the possibility of oil company financing of the 2020 elections campaign to ensure that a preferred candidate emerges and wins the presidency.

ExxonMobil, which is expected to begin commercial oil production in 2020, has not hidden the fact that it funds political activities in the United States and Canada but has added that it does so under strict guidelines in those countries.

ExxonMobil has already denied funding the 2015 general election campaign in Guyana  which does not have campaign finance legislation.

The GOGA Executive Member reasoned that the only defence that countries like Guyana have is greater transparency to allow Guyanese to openly reject agreements signed by government.

The Guyana government has said it has been advised that it would not be wise to make public the agreements between ExxonMobil and Guyana at this time due to the unresolved border controversy with neighbouring Venezuela.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said last week that the Petroleum Act, which includes a secrecy clause, is being reviewed and  tabled in the National Assembly before year-end so that it would mirror laws in other petroleum producing countries. “I am sure the final product on the table will be more reflective of petroleum producing countries,” he said.

ExxonMobil continues to discover hundreds of millions of barrels of oil offshore Guyana from where it would start commercial pumping from the Liza 1 well which has almost 500 million barrels of light sweet crude.

  • Col123

    A deflection there Hon Hughes?????…Maybe???. One would believe that money can provide only insignificant gains at getting exposure for votes in Guyana… given that winning election is either done by ethnic votes..OR rigging….and all it takes NOW is a stroke of that pen to get 51% of the votes..and control of the ballot boxes… There isn’t any need for gross rigging to attain 80 or 90 % of the votes…those days are gone…

  • rudeo

    Elections 2020 is a done deal

  • Col123

    The PNC/AFC Unity Cohesion government is #1… you can’t beat em… so join em… you already have that party card so it’s a done deal…

  • Quentin Campion

    Campaigning very early, good but funds should not be gotten from outside…….are we really going that route. Thanks for that early warning.

  • Godwin

    Nigel Hughes appears to be new to oil politics so let us help him,EXXON and indeed all Cooperation do not fund a party,they actually fund all parties .how ever make no mistake they have been undone by smaller more silent organizations in recent times but in the end since they invested in all sides they never loss .so if your party is deceiving themselves that they have support from somewhere some even claim america well they are largely ignorant because America is always on all sides .i highly suspect that they would learn the hard way the same lesson thought to Desmond in 1992.rule number one of politics all politics are local,so i laugh when i see so called military men(who have never gone to war) who are not trained in the act of politics creating and elitist you people think Forbes was stupid when he walked around on the street in the evening mingling with the people on the ground(common man).2018 would be another warning and the last warning for that matter ,keep looking for BIG name and BIG titles

  • Col123

    Money in elections may work in some first world countries, to purchase attack ads on opponents..or help with exposure for lesser known candidates.
    Along central and South America with which I am familiar , political ideology rules the polls and followed closely by rigging. Guyana is divided ethnically…. and vote ethnically…. and the players are well known to the populace… money will not be a significant variable… rigging will be the major decider…

    • itmickey

      sigh…. well my friend I know that, regrettably that is so…and where would that leave us…

      When I look at this country I see big dreams, enormous potential, happy ppl, I see oneness of accord and mind…gosh…big dreams if only…

      I’ll tell you a secret :)…I had high hopes for this govt…wholeheartedly supported them…sat in meetings with them were they painstakingly took time to listen to concerns and promised, yeah promised to fix all that is of concern…but…as one colleague said that he put his neck out for them now they dont even talk to him…

      My big dreams are not dashed as yet…

  • Col123

    Rigging 2020 will rule the day…this money stuff is a red herring… pay attention!


    nigel huhges- instead of using his litigation skills in overseeing the best contracts and the best interests of the people he is pointing fingers at things that has not happened as yet.
    nigel huhges and the Guyanese politicians are all greedy people and all they are interested in is filling their coffers at the expense of the people’s welfare and future and Corporations like Exxon and foreign investors know this and they will pay them to sell out their country and it’s people’s future.
    Until the Guyanese understand the democratic political structure and use it and stop being race baited come election time and put people in place who will look out for the people and the country.

  • jp

    Rig the 2020 election Guyana will see Revolution like it had never seen before we no longer in the 60s we have come a far away to go back to that so all of you can talk and say what you want and preach as much as you want but read this election and all the guilty party will pay for their mistakes all the teams will pay all the criminal will pay and that’s included any party APNU AFC PPP no one as immune no one is above anyone we are all Guyanese and we need to stand up to any millionaire billionaire who tried to steal and Rob from us our kids our grandkids and farmer Revolution that they will never see coming

  • Randy Bridgeman

    Guyana is in big trouble as is the rest of the world. Many people think If only the “right” person is elected, things will improve in their respective countries. Politics with little variation, is conducted in essentially the same manner all over the world.

    With an exception here or there, politicians are basically slimy, self-centered individuals who relish preening before the public especially if there’s a camera or two clicking away. When governments change hands, nothing really changes for the majority of it’s citizens. Oh yes, the succeeding government may throw a bone here or there to the populace but their lot doesn’t improve significantly.

    Countries need Godly men and women of integrity, honesty, decency, competence and willing to truly SERVE the people as opposed to being served. If they’re truly servant-leaders, leaders will never Lord it over anyone. They will be genuine and effective statesmen/women by putting the Lord GOD Almighty first who, in His compassion, love and infinite wisdom, will guide such leaders to do what’s right for those being served.

    Let’s face it, government/politicians all over the world have failed its citizenry and continue to do so. GOD will never fail anyone who looks to Him for assistance. And we all need the Lord’s help to make it in this unfair, rough and tumble world, don’t we? He NEVER fails. Best wishes to the Guyanese people.

  • brain dead idiot

    is mr nigel affraid that the party he was part of is not so clean and shinning anymore all they want is power at any cost so oil companies cant buy the election for them .
    col123 said they only need 2% to win the election but i think they want all . so they can change the constitution to the one grangie gat in he for the next fifty years put up or shut up new party slogan

  • cuffy

    History has proven the raping of the new world’s wealth by the colonists,this seems to be the same by a foreign power, it’s sad to see a qualified historian as a leader not making the right decisions,this has nothing to do with PPP/APNU/PNC, it should be for the welfare of all Guyanese.History must not be repeated.