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Govt receives ExxonMobil funds to help fight Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; some contract details disclosed

ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block concession offshore Guyana.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that United States (US) oil giant, ExxonMobil, will help fund Guyana’s legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela.

“Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a sum and yes it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said the same day that two local newspapers published a September 2016 letter by Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga for the establishment of a special United States dollar account to facilitate the deposit of a signing bonus by ExxonMobil.

“The government received a larger sum,” he said, adding that “we did what we did to preserve the safety and well-being of the people of Guyana and to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country and Mr. Speaker, if it is we are to be blamed, let us be blamed, Mr. Speaker, for doing what is right and as had been done by the previous administration, we seek only to defend our country,” he told the National Assembly during the 2018 National Budget debate.

While the figure of a US$20 million signing bonus has been floated in several sections of the media for many weeks now, Demerara Waves Online News has been told that it slightly less than that amount.

As was reported earlier by Demerara Waves Online News, the minister hinted that the Guyana government accepted advice that it could tap into the company  to pay for legal and diplomatic initiatives to resolve the decades-old controversy.

“Mr. Speaker, we don’t have warplanes and fighter jets and they have destroyers. What we have always had  since Independence is our legal prowess and our diplomatic abilities and those are our best tools,” he said. In that regard, he said a Norway-based top European law firm, Michelet & Co and the US law firm, Jones-Day have been hired.

Trotman hinted that government received advice from a number of the same advisers that had told the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led government under President Bharrat Jagdeo that they could have taken monies from the Canadian oil company, CGX Energy, to pay legal fees for the settlement of the maritime boundary dispute with neighbouring Suriname at the United Nations Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. Guyana moved to the Tribunal after Surinamese gunboats had chased out a CGX Energy-hired oil exploration rig from the concession that had been awarded by Guyana.

He said the details of the ExxonMobil contract as well as the arrangements being made for the payment of the fees would be tabled in the National Assembly later this month

The United Nations Secretary General is expected to send the controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court

Revealing several “salient points” of the contract, the Minister said although the company was not legally obligated to renegotiate the 1999 contract, the David Granger-led coalition government was able to secure a two percent royalty on gross that will amount to US$380 million annually; the annual license fee has been increased from US$250,000 to US$1 million; US$300,000 each for capacity and scholarships, and corporate social responsibility.

He said some of the US$300,000 assigned for corporate social responsibility has been used to finance Guyana’s relief operations to the several hurricane-hit Caribbean islands.

  • Col123

    The lines are being drawn in a subtle way…. Guyana’s resources will now be used as funds for US and Exxon grievances against Venezuela… take my word. Where the heck is Beak1?

  • Yannick23

    I guess this is the Coalition Govt transparency “LIE” we voted for. Granger and Naaga came all over Guyana and North America to deliver the same kind of transparency which is “LIE”. Remember they will pay for this LIE sometime or the other.

    • Col123

      They will not…those Indos are noted for behaving as crabs in a barrel…I will tell you that Shootist stated on blogs when I questioned why we Aro Guyanese never grasp economic power fo twenty eight years, he said…”…that dirty little secret of the African experience in modern day Guyana, the weak minded fell hook line and sinker or the divide and conquer strategy, we dominate the organs of the state, but the free Guinness, event vip passes…etc..”.he couldn’t answer why for twenty eight years when we owned this country , we couldn’t grasp economic power, despite the fact that our fore fathers bought villages upon emancipation!…neither coul Turbo, Bora and the whole lot…that says a lot.

      • Truth !

        Dumbo grasp economic powa like Uganda ?????

  • Col123

    The guardian of our resources are blind sided by greed, in both major parties. If my experience is worth a dime, suffice to add that I held a US Diplomatic passport for ten years, and I can relate to the strategy of Exxon…ala..US Government….and given the fact that US oil businesses were kicked out of Venezuela, it is easy to predict that our resources will be a pawn to pay the price for US leveraging those oil fields in their fight for Venezuela.
    I will give you a fact… Kuwait was accused of side drilling Iraqi oil which was one of the reasons for Saddam to invade Kuwait…
    I will leave this issue at this point!

  • Col123

    I am always on the winning side Burch!..Hey, if I don’t get a chance… will be out of net..Wishing you and yours A Merry Christmas and a healthy 2018!

  • Col123

    Go and have your eyes checked feemmy…you too damm gonna see real picture!

    • Yannick23

      Col feamore got cataract and he don’t even know. what a shame.