EYEWITNESS Transparent…

…or opaque in oil?Call your Eyewitness jaded, but he’s not impressed by this application of a “Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) for Guyana to obtain membership in the “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative” (EITI).  The latter body, “overseeing” the “transparency” and good governance of extractive operations in some 52 countries engaged in oil, gas and mineral resources, is supposed to be a stamp of approval over our Government’s handling of our incipient oil industry.But no matter how vigilant the EITI is — and that’s a matter for debate — aren’t we locking the stable door after the (oil) horse has bolted? After all, according to our trusty Wiki source, “The EITI Standard requires information along the extractive industry value chain FROM the point of extraction to how the revenue makes its way through the Government, to how it contributes to the economy.”But in our case, all of Guyana – including key supporters of the Government – have been demanding the details of the contract, since that would determine exactly what we’re supposed to get “FROM the point of extraction”. How exactly did Trotman get to DOUBLE the rate of royalties from 1% to the underwhelmingly 2%?? He can’t have it both ways: saying on one hand that the PPP contract negotiated back in 1999 is cast in stone, yet, on the other hand, a key clause could be changed!Point of the matter is: the original 1999 Contract was time-bound, and was due for renewal by 2015 — just when the new Government COINCIDENTALLY acceded to office.The contract could’ve been renegotiated at that time – and WAS! All that talk of Guyana getting “bad name” for not accepting the sanctity of contracts is nonsense. Just as with the GTT contract — signed in 1990 and expired in 2010 — which can be renegotiated, as the Government’s doing right now. No bad name!!Your Eyewitness has a problem with the MSG, which will represent Guyana at the EITI, accepting the contract shouldn’t be shown to the Guyanese people. Whose interests are they really representing? The legislation says the MSG “shall be comprised of 4 Government Representatives; 4 Business Group Representatives; and 4 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Representatives.”We can understand the Government and business reps going along (businesses, after all, have to be “pragmatic”!) but the CSOs?? Shouldn’t they have dug their heels in and demanded the contract be made public as a precondition to their giving their stamp of approval to the application to the EITI?But all is not lost. Right now Guyana is merely an “EITI Candidate”; it’ll take two-and-a-half years for Validation.The people can speak in 2020!!…on new BridgeIf the Government hasn’t begun its campaign for 2020, the AFC certainly have! After a prolonged period of somnolence, they’ve suddenly found their voice, and are pronouncing on all manner of things. Even the Cummingsburg Accord – but don’t get excited – nothing substantive!! Anyhow, their Minister of Infrastructure, Patterson, announced they’ll get going next year on the fixed-span new Demerara Harbour Bridge, which the PPP had proposed.But again, don’t get too excited. What they REALLY announced was next year they’ll launch the PROCESS of starting the bridge project. And we know how long THAT can take to get it to the end, don’t we? However, there was an interesting revelation to the effect they’ll be having prospective bidders for the project be PREQUALIFIED. Makes, sense, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t want any fella with a backhoe sending in bids, would you?  This is an important and LARGE undertaking.But if PREQUALIFICATION is necessary for the bridge, why did the Government throw out prequalification for PHARMA SUPPLIES?Aren’t lives even more important than a bridge?…wishYour Eyewitness is bemused by the irony of that Marxist holdout in the PPP – Hydar Ali – fervently and ostentatiously agreeing with the British High Commissioner on the need for a change in the voting system.Aaah, how quickly we forget!! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOil ready Guyana submits bid to join EITIAugust 19, 2017In “Business”Public will be made aware of all oil payments to Guyana Govt – ExxonJuly 9, 2017In “Local News”Thoughtful planning needed to wisely invest potential oil revenues – U.S. AmbassadorOctober 11, 2016In “latest news”