CARICOM Treaty will not hinder promotion of Guyanese interests in oil sector – Attorney General

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, S.C., M.P., explained that the government will continue to promote Guyanese participation and benefits in the oil sector and that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas will not hinder these efforts.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall S.C. M.P. argues in support of Local Content Bill 2021

He made this comment in the National Assembly on Wednesday after Opposition Member of Parliament (M.P.), David Patterson said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) wrote to the Opposition, flagging the Bill as being in contravention of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. The Treaty is the central document establishing the framework for the integration of the Region.

Patterson alleged that the privileges given to locals in the Bill would contravene Article 7 of the Revised Treaty which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

However, the Attorney General said that there is no issue. He pointed out that Trinidad and Tobago has had local content provisions for 40 years, without issue. Suriname too, the Minister said, has local content legislation, and both of these countries are members of CARICOM.

To reinforce this point, the Attorney General added that Norway, hailed as one of the better managers of their oil and gas sector, has local content laws which have been managed while Norway is associated with the European Union through the European Economic Area.

Minister Nandlall said, “We have addressed our minds to this, and when the issue arises, we will deal with it.”

The minister said that this piece of legislation is meant to be part of a network which will ensure every Guyanese benefits from the multi-billion-dollar oil and gas sector. The Bill is being read for the second time in Parliament and will be addressed by a long line-up of government and opposition speakers.