Georgetown, Guyana – (August 10, 2018) The Ministry of the Presidency condemns as false, malicious and inaccurate, an article carried in the August 10, 2018 edition of the Stabroek News, headlined, “Trotman no longer Minister of Natural Resources,” which states that “With effect from August 1st, Raphael Trotman is no longer the Minister of Natural Resources following the establishment of the Department of Energy.”

Despite the fact that the Head of State, President David Granger and the Ministry of the Presidency have on several occasions, publicly stated that the Minister has not been stripped of any responsibilities and remains a significant member of the Government, this untruth has still found its way into the Stabroek News.

The Ministry would like to place publicly on record that the establishment of the Department of Energy does not take away from the Minister’s responsibilities. The DoE has only resulted in the Petroleum Division being shifted from the Ministry of Natural Resources to the Department under the Ministry of the Presidency. All responsibilities for the natural resources sector including the gold and diamond mining, logging and forestry industries, among others remain with Minister Trotman.

The Ministry also takes this time to reiterate that it was the Minister of Natural Resources, who made public on February 28, 2018 that it was, in fact, he who had made the proposal to the Cabinet for the Department of Energy to be set up and managed under the Ministry of the Presidency. In a concept note submitted to the Cabinet by Minister Trotman outlined the need for the new Department and the role it would take on with regard to oil management.

It stated that “given the evolving macro-economic and national security considerations, and the transformative nature of the imminent production of petroleum,” it is his view that several matters must be taken into consideration. Key among those was the proposal that “all policy matters, including, but not limited to, the negotiating and entering into contracts, and issuing of licences for exploration and production, be transferred/re-assigned to the Ministry of the Presidency and placed within a Department of Energy and Development.”

Minister Trotman’s proposal was accepted by the Cabinet after detailed discussions on its contents. The Natural Resources Minister in his statement on the said date, publicly stated that, “Eventually the expectation is that the Ministry of Natural Resources will hand over responsibility of the function of petroleum to this new Department and we will see a more direct and focused mandate from this Department of Energy and we will of course, as a Cabinet be supporting the Department.”

The Natural Resources Minister continues to provide sterling leadership at the Ministry and enjoys the confidence of President David Granger. It is under Mr. Trotman’s stewardship that significant progress has been made in capacity building and preparations for ‘first oil’.

The article, therefore, can be deemed malicious and dishonest at the very least.

While the Government of Guyana promotes and stands solidly behind press freedom, the Ministry of the Presidency calls on the Stabroek News and all media houses to pay attention to the ethics and responsibilities that ought to be observed in the profession of Journalism. The Media must take its responsibility to provide accurate information to the members of the public seriously.

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