Notwithstanding its extreme reluctance to release the contract signed by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman with Esso Exploration and Production (Guyana) Limited and two Joint Partners some eighteen months ago, Cabinet deserves credit for its decision to make the contract public in December. All the more because we are told that experts had advised Trotman that it would be a breach of the law for the Government to do so. I am sure that the Government will not regret this decision as there really is nothing to lose. In fact, Guyana will be joining a growing list of countries which make their extractive contracts and licences public.
The Executive Summary of a report Past the Tipping Point? published earlier this year by Natural Resource Governance Institute and written by Don Hubert and Rob Pitman concluded that it is becoming increasingly normal for member countries of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to disclose the contracts and licenses that lay out the terms for resource exploitation. No doubt, Guyana, which was recently admitted to membership of EITI, will be much more comfortable at EITI meetings when the question of contract disclosure is being discussed. In fact, Guyana will be joining a group of eleven countries which discloses its contracts despite having no statutory obligation to do so. Continue reading Every Man, Woman and Child in Guyana Must Become Oil-Minded (Part 25)