More revision of Petroleum Commission Bill before passage

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman announced that he is seeking to amend the Petroleum Commission Bill to dissolve ministerial powers and increase civil society and opposition representation on the Petroleum Commission.

Minister Trotman addressing the media. Also, in photo are Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes and staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

At a press conference today in the Ministry’s Boardroom, Minister Trotman said he will soon move to Cabinet to get permission to revise the Bill which is currently before a Select Committee in the National Assembly.

The revision of the Bill, which governs the establishment and functioning of a Petroleum Commission, is seeking to incorporate additional recommendations.

“I am going to be asking the Sub Committee at a meeting this afternoon for it to be further amended and to be taken back to Cabinet so that we can incorporate some of the worthwhile suggestions which have come to us,” Minister Trotman explained.

Those suggestions include the devolution of ministerial powers and an increase of membership on the Commission.

Concerns about the powers of the Minister, as presented in the Bill, were raised by stakeholders and commentators.   The powers afforded to the Minister in the Petroleum Commission Bill is “consistent with prevailing and extant legislation” that governs semi-autonomous bodies like the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).

Minister Trotman explained, “there is no desire on the part of government to hog the resources and so anything that makes it a national asset and to make it treated as such we are prepared to entertain”.

According to Minister Trotman, the Commonwealth Secretariat, which assisted in the initial drafting of the Bill, revised the bill a second time upon request. “They have sent some suggestions for further devolution and we are prepared to consider some of them.”

Speaking on the representation of the Petroleum Commission, Minister Trotman noted, while the bill makes provision for the allowance of seven persons representing academia, civil society and the Parliamentary Opposition to sit on the Commission’s Board, a number has not been determined.

“The suggestion was that perhaps we increase the numbers to two or three for each but that’s ultimately a matter for Cabinet.”

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

 

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