The Government of Guyana notes a report issued yesterday, Monday, February 3, 2020, by Global Witness.

The report is sensationalist, agenda-driven and extraordinarily speculative. Global Witness presented absolutely no evidence of corruption or malpractice on the part of the Government or its officials.

The Government of Guyana views the report as a cunning and calculated attack on a sovereign state with a duly elected Government mere weeks before an election. This timing cannot be seen as a coincidence and it appears as though it is seeking to influence the electoral outcome.

The author of the report makes the preposterous assertion that Guyana “should allow no additional drilling in the Stabroek license” and “should also cancel its nine other allocated licenses and not award any new licenses”.

This is arbitrary and utterly absurd. On what basis does Global Witness seek to impose its proposition that the people of Guyana must not benefit from our natural resources as the peoples of other countries have done freely for millennia?

The Government reiterates, as do other credible international agencies, that it entered a fair agreement for the people of Guyana. The benefits include:

  • 50 per cent profit oil
  • 2 per cent royalty
  • Withholding taxes
  • US$18,000,000 signing bonus
  • Over 1900 persons directly employed in oil and gas sector to date
  • Over US$300M in foreign direct investment to date
  • Over 700 service providers to date

The Government maintains its position that there were geo-political and national security imperatives which could not be ignored. The report deliberately seeks to trivialize the national security and sovereignty of Guyana.

Further, Global Witness completely ignores the analyses and reviews done by credible companies such as the Norway-based Rystad Energy and experts including Sir Paul Collier of the prestigious Oxford University.

In its report on Guyana, the widely respected oil and gas analytical firm Rystad Energy stated, “[i]n the current fiscal regime, the government collects its share through a 2% royalty and a 50% profit oil levy. Rystad Energy estimates that this will give the government 60% of the profit from the various projects (government take). The average government take of 60% in Guyana is indeed favorable when compared to other large offshore producers. [F]or countries that only recently opened up for [Exploration and Production] activities – such as the Falkland Islands, Israel, Mozambique and Mauritania – the government take is in the range of 50% to 65%.”

The Government of Guyana notes that in responding to the Global Witness report today, Forbes Magazine, a leading financial publication stated, “[i]n the end, just a few hours of analysis reveals the Global Witness report for what it is: An ideologically-motivated attack piece aimed at some of the biggest players in the oil and gas industry. Which, given the group’s history, comes as no surprise at all.”

Moreover, Global Witness in its report maliciously attempted to discredit officials of the Government including Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, who was part of a Cabinet approved Government of Guyana delegation, on an official visit to Houston.

After being heavily reliant on innuendo and conjecture, the report actually states, “Global Witness is NOT suggesting that Trotman’s Texas trip violates US or Guyanese anti-corruption laws,” and that, “Global Witness does NOT allege that Trotman deliberately negotiated a bad deal, or deliberately ignored information that would in fact have got Guyana a better deal.”

Global Witness therefore contradicts itself in its own report.

Further still, Global Witness was unable to establish any corruption or malpractice whatsoever on the part of Government, or any of its officials. At all material times, officials of the Government of Guyana acted with the knowledge and authority of the Cabinet and on the basis of credible advice.

Not having been able to establish any corruption, Global Witness then pivots and engaged in a flight of fancy. The figure of $55B is random, arbitrary and highly speculative.

In fact, the people of Guyana are assured of earning tens of billions of United States dollars in the years ahead and would have unprecedented and bountiful amounts for investment in their wages and salaries, pensions, education, health care, security, infrastructure, sea defence, agriculture, hinterland development and for future generations through Guyana’s already established Natural Resource Fund.

It is time that the people of Guyana enjoy the right to self-determination and their own destiny without interference of foreign influences.

Countless organizations have shared our optimism based on sound economic analysis of Guyana’s projected growth and development.

Nasdaq, and other regional and multinational agencies such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), have noted that Guyana is the fastest growing economy in the world and expected to experience vast wealth as a result of its oil and gas agreement.

Further, these agencies have hailed the positive steps taken in setting the foundation for the prudent fiscal management of the resource.

The Government of Guyana acted decisively in allowing for first oil to have been celebrated in less than five years, an unprecedented and historic achievement. All Guyanese are imbued with a deep sense of pride and patriotism that they are now citizens of an oil producing nation and are urged not to allow anyone to steal their joy and good fortune.

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