Government’s explanation on signing bonus remains consistent- Minister Greenidge

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, December 15, 2017

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge today in response to Opposition claims, made it clear that the explanation provided by him and President David Granger in relation to the US $18M signing bonus received from ExxonMobil, remains consistent.

Minister Greenidge is maintaining that it was disclosed that the Cabinet approved the receipt of the funds and so did the President. He clarified that cabinet does not discuss where the foreign inflow goes; however, the use of the funds is a different matter.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

The Minister said he did note that the approval of the funds was subject to a recommendation by President Granger, who instructed that the funds be placed into a special account, in the event that it is needed urgently.

In this case, the monies have been set aside for the payment of a group of lawyers to fight Guyana’s case in the border issue with Venezuela, once the United Nations Secretary-General refers the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Constitution of Guyana, Minister Greenidge pointed out, does not set out financial procedures. According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) states clearly that monies received can be placed in three categories; extra budgetary, deposit and the Consolidated Fund.

He reiterated that the US$18M will remain in the special account at the Bank of Guyana, where it will be converted to Guyana Dollars and placed in the Consolidated Fund. Additionally, the Minister said there is no secrecy, since the Bank of Guyana receipts would reflect the inflow of the money received in 2016. He deemed the Opposition tactics as an “arena of lies.”

This administration, Minister Greenidge contended, is transparent, unlike what obtained under the previous government, when they failed to place the US$10M received from Canadian oil company, CGX Energy, which they claimed was used for the payment of lawyers in the maritime dispute with Suriname.

The adjournment motion moved in the National Assembly this morning, action which Minister Greenidge described as “misconceived.” He reminded that in the past, in relation to the lottery funds being placed in the Consolidated Fund, the PPP’s legal experts argued that all funds do not need to be placed in the Consolidated Fund.

By: Stacy Carmichael

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