Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 14:28 by Denis Chabrol
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA)- one of the parties in the governing coalition- has called on the Guyana government to release the contract with the United States (US) oil-giant, ExxonMobil, in the interest of transparency and accountability.
“There is no justifiable reason for not publishing this contract. Seeking public comment on it is our democratic obligation. And engaging the widest possible sharing of views can only help the coalition government to make wiser decisions,” the WPA Chairman told Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman in a letter dated June 6, 2017.
In the letter copied to President David Granger and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, that political party called government’s decision to withhold the contract “unwise” because it is raising questions among the public and opponents of the coalition-led administration.
“Further, as we as a government continue to request from the public their unwavering trust in us, and the decisions we make, we should not give them or our opponents’ reason to suggest that we should not be trusted,” the WPA said.
The WPA, which is part of A Partnership for National Unity that is dominated by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), urged the administration to release the contract on June 13, 2017 in honour of the “memory” of late WPA co-founder, Dr. Walter Rodney. For years, the WPA had accused the the then PNC-led administration of assassinating Rodney in walkie-talkie triggered blast on June 13, 1980 at the height of a civil rebellion to dislodge Forbes Burnham from power by any means necessary.
That party also sought to justify its call for the release of the contract on the grounds that countries with worse off democratic records and strife have done so. “We believe this to be unwise for several reasons, including in particular the fact that such contracts are publicly available online for countries with 1) odious authoritarian reputations and 2) racked with severe domestic and external conflicts,” the WPA added.
Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc and the opposition People’s Progressive Party have called for the contract to be released. First oil is expected to be pumped from the Liza field offshore Guyana by 2020.