Crony­ism evolv­ing in oil in­dus­try

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The

Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Mr. Bhar­rat Jagdeo made some shock­ing dis­clo­sures in re­gards to the emerg­ing oil and gas sec­tor in Guyana. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Jagdeo, fam­ily, rel­a­tives, friends and cronies of the APNU/ AFC Govern­ment have formed them­selves into a syn­di­cate and have been ac­tively ap­ply­ing for pe­tro­leum ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion licenses for off­shore min­ing blocks in the pe­tro­leum zone of Guyana.

The Op­po­si­tion Leader stated, “It has been brought to our at­ten­tion that a num­ber of front com­pa­nies with key APNU/AFC in­di­vid­u­als and Min­is­ters’ fam­i­lies as share­hold­ers have sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions to the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources for pe­tro­leum ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion licenses.” He fur­ther stated, “They are at least two com­pa­nies that we (the PPP/C) know of that have de­vel­oped com­plex share­hold­ing struc­tures that have made ap­pli­ca­tions for these licenses for the off- shore blocks that are avail­able now.”

He re­vealed that it is com­mon knowl­edge that many for­eign com­pa­nies are also try­ing to ac­quire these blocks off­shore. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Jagdeo, in the past there was no in­ter­est in these blocks be­cause oil was not found. How­ever, with the dis­cov­ery of oil the blocks are ex­tremely valu­able. He ar­gued, “The mo­ment you find oil there is a pre­mium for own­ing off­shore blocks. So a lot of these lo­cal com­pa­nies have no means what so ever; who are aligned to Min­is­ters and their fam­i­lies etc and some oth­ers, cronies; they have no means of find­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of US dol­lars to do ex­plo­ration work. So, they will get these blocks and weeks later they will sell the blocks with­out any com­pet­i­tive process be­ing fol­lowed, be­cause now there is no com­pet­i­tive process for award­ing the blocks. They will get them and then sell them. “

In light of the facts, Mr. Jagdeo has since called on the Govern­ment to auc­tion the blocks as op­posed to gift­ing them away in a non-trans­par­ent man­ner to fam­ily and friends. He posited that these blocks are a valu­able re­source to the coun­try and if they are auc­tioned the coun­try stands to make hun­dreds of mil­lions of US dol­lars. He ar­gued, “If Pres­i­dent Granger is se­ri­ous about trans­parency he should shut down this process. They should go to an auc­tion; this is a valu­able re­source… be­cause we are a coun­try that has found oil. If you go to an auc­tion, monies that the mid­dle men would make would go to the state.”

The Leader of the Op­po­si­tion also ques­tioned why the In­tegrity Com­mis­sion has not been func­tion­ing for al­most years now. He stated, “… this is why the In­tegrity Com­mis­sion is so im­por­tant. We are go­ing on to 3 years now for this Govern­ment and they have no sub­mit­ted any­thing as yet to the In­tegrity Com­mis­sion.” (Cit­i­zens Re­port)

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