Minister Greenidge discredits sensationalising of signing bonus

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge is the latest to discredit claims that there was secrecy and illegality surrounding the signing bonus the government received from ExxonMobil.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.

In the National Assembly today, Minister Greenidge, echoed President David Granger’s statement that the non-disclosure of the signing bonus was a matter of national security.

“Those who would challenge us in the court would have been very pleased with the airing of this controversy by Guyanese,” Minister Greenridge said, addressing the “sensational headlines” over the signing bonus in local media.

Guyana is preparing to defend its territorial integrity against Venezuela in the International Court of Justice pending a decision from the United Nation’s Secretary General following the conclusion of dialogue under the Good Offices Process.

Minister Greenidge explained it was his Ministry that advised the President “to set aside sufficient funds to make the payment” for lawyers; to bring a resolution to the controversy on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award which demarcated the Guyana Venezuela Border. Venezuela, since 1962, has been claiming the Award is null and void.

The Minister shared that US$15M is expected to be used for lawyers’ fees in the litigation while $US3M will be used to fund the urgent training of Guyanese in necessary skills such as engineering and petroleum geology.

Given the national security threat, Minister Greenidge said, “Only those that needed to know were informed as to the purpose of the deposit.”

Meanwhile, the Minister echoed the Minister of Finance’s assertion that there was no illegality in the transaction. “This is not unusual in Westminster type systems…this is also in keeping with the use of other monies received from other sources such as the IDB,” he pointed out.

In fact, Article 37:2 of the MFAA makes provision for the holding of funds in a budget or other accounts. When the monies are activated for the intended use it will be transferred to the Consolidated Fund.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

 

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